Ways to Give the Gift of Time
With gift giving in full swing, it can be easy to fall into the pattern of spending money in order to find the perfect present. But have you considered that the perfect gift may cost nothing at all? This holiday season don't forget that you can give your loved ones your time! Here are three sweet ideas that require little or no money at all and can have a big impact. My mother, who is now a grandmother to nine grandchildren, mentioned the greatest gift we could give her was our time.
Give time for projects around the house
Is there a project around your loved one's house that needs attention, but maybe they have been unable to get to it themselves? Consider giving your time in the form of helping them accomplish that project! It could be as simple as helping them to decorate for the holidays and offering to pull out anything that would be too heavy. Likewise, maybe it would be putting all those decorations away at the end of the season! Perhaps there is something that needs repair around their house. Lastly, plenty of leaves are on the ground and are probably accumulating in gutters! Offer to help clean up the yard and gutters! Organize friends or family who would be willing to help and pack some hot apple cider to share. Help like this can make some of the happiest of memories that last a lifetime.
Help them with letting go
This may go along with making time to help with a certain project around the house, but consider this idea too. Offer to help them declutter their own house after a loss. It can be very hard to go through a loved one's belongings, wanting to hold on and cherish each item that belonged to them. When two or more are there to help, this can ease some of the burden. Offer to organize those belongings and take loads to your local thrift store, but only if the time is right. Doing this can help them work through letting go of what they do not need and also may help ease some of the pain of having to say goodbye to those memorable items. The best gift of all is to not do it alone.
Make time for visits
The holidays can be a lonely time for many. We become so busy with planning that sometimes we forget a simple visit to our loved ones can mean a lot. Take a weekend to visit them. Make time after work to stop by and take a meal. Take a minute or two to call them and see how they are doing if they live far away. Send them a gift card for a warm drink or better yet take them out for that drink! Another great idea would be to stagger family visits. If you are unable to all gather together with a certain family member, draw out the holidays by organizing who visits grandma or grandpa on which day, giving them a full week or month of looking forward to someone coming to say hello. Time truly can be the best gift of all.
These ideas are not meant to make you feel pressured to do more for the season. I hope you feel less burdened to purchase more and even more encouraged that in some cases, simply your time is gift enough. This is also a gift to ourselves, lessening the need to feel like we have to spend money while at the same time putting more focus on what really matters in our lives. The people in them truly are the most important. Time is indeed a gift!
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