The best gift

........................................................................................................................................................................................

Thanksgiving is over. Black Friday is over. Now we can relax a little bit — never mind, Christmas will be here even before we get around the corner. Rest and relaxation are not exactly things associated with this time of year.

Maybe they should be.

People are jumping right in, planning fundraisers, collecting toys and gathering food to share with others. Families converge to stress, argue and see what’s new. The country bustles with anticipation and activity.

But the mountains have a little snow, the desert lies waiting, the bosque twitters with its full compliment of avian refugees and the stars — well they still twinkle in the beautiful New Mexico sky.

The season of giving makes people happy. It also causes worry. There are worries about how much to give, what to spend on whom, when do we know if its too much or too little for aunt Sally, if this too indulgent for the kids or not enough.

Even the children learn what it is like to be selfless, precious cents saved to present something special to someone special. They wait so excitedly to see the glow as mom, or brother, or friend get through the tape to see what is inside that shiny paper.

We rush to the store, we bake, we wrap and we anguish over where the next dollar will be spent. We drive to the nearest big city to look for things, and more things, and more things to share, give and cook.

So what is the best gift?

Is it electronics, money, a stuffed animal, jewelry? Is it a car, or a plastic ring?

The answer is easy really.

Time is the best gift.

That afternoon you were going to spend running to one store after the other, stay home with your husband. Play a game. Turn off the computers and television. Go visit Aunt Zelda at the nursing home. If there is no Aunt Zelda, visit the home anyway and hold a hand for a while.

Play with the dog instead of putting her out. Put the children to work in the kitchen instead of shooing them away.

And beyond giving to others of time, give time to yourself. That stress and bustle takes energy, which takes thought and kindness with it and tosses them to the wind creating surliness and snappishness.

As someone said once, “time and tide wait for no man.”

If you wait for a time to be with those who love you, it may never come.

Don’t stop giving to the community, but make time to give to yourself too.