Give the Gift of Time Together for the Holidays

BlogHer Original Post

When you're on your death bed looking back on your life, what will you remember most, the stuff you received as gifts, or the time you spent with the people you care about?

On Wednesday I posted 10 Lists of Holiday Gifts That Give Back. Although many of the ideas on the lists help people in need, or have a light impact on the planet, most of the ideas are objects to purchase. I want to share with you a story about a friend of mine's mom who for the last few years has only given gifts of time for birthdays and holidays.

Last Christmas at breakfast, rather than under the tree, she presented her two daughters, son in-law and three grandchildren with a set of different colored nesting boxes, the kind that, when empty, fit inside each other. Each had a sand dollar glued on the top for decoration.

The family opened the boxes in order, by size. The smallest box was for the youngest grandchild. When she opened the tiny little box, glued inside the lid was a piece of paper that unfolded, like a fortune cookie fortune. It said, "A trip to the zoo!" Inside the box was a brochure for the Oakland Zoo.

The next largest box was opened by the 2nd oldest grandchild. Glued inside was the same kind of folded paper that said, "An overnight with tennis and swimming!" The next box was opened by the eldest grandchild who received, "An overnight with Stanford baseball!"

The eldest daughter's box contained ""Tickets to a show!" The son in-law received "Stanford football tickets!" and his wife, the youngest daughter and my friend, got, "A lunch and shopping date (with paid babysitter included)!"

My friend said that not only did everyone love their gifts of time to spend with grandma/mom/mom in-law, but that the gifts have changed how the children give their grandma gifts:

"One thing that has come out of it, that is really special, is that my kids really want to give her gifts of time now, too. They do things like, "A hike in the woods!" or "A picnic at the pool!" Of course, I have to be involved in it, but they get to pick what they want to do, and then they gift it to her. They draw a picture and write what they want to do with her."

It's important to give back to your local and global community, but it is also important to "give back" to your friends and family. Give them the gift of time together.

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Related blog posts:
Give the Gift of Time Together This Holiday Season on Treehugging Family.
Christmas and Other Holidays: Gifts of Time on Jeri's Organizing & Decluttering News
Green Giving: Experiential and the Gift of Time on Eco - Action

Flickr photo credit: Sand Dollar uploaded by Bart Everson. 

BlogHer Contributing Editor, Britt Bravo, also blogs at Have Fun * Do Good and The Extraordinaries.

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