Gifts that Matter

Timeless Moments

by Christie Perkins

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe went Christmas tree hunting.  Well, technically, my husband did the hunting and we just traipsed behind him…WAY behind him.  I expected less snow and mud, not that there was that much but I didn’t bring my boots.  My steps were more careful.

He found a tree pretty quick.  I liked it except for the big hole in the back.

But, it was pretty.  And like a magnet he found another tree.   He’s good at this.  Immediately I decided, “Let’s do the other tree.  It’ll work.”

I was done.

“But, it’s only been 20 minutes,” he said.  Exactly my point.  The perfect Christmas tree in 20 minutes.  How much more perfect than that can we get?

But I see how roles were reversed.  If it was a shopping trip I would be telling him the same thing (and I have)… but it’s only been 20 minutes!

He continued shopping.  I puppy guarded the tree like my husband puppy guards a clothing rack while I shop.  You know the motive of looking busy when you’re just plain bored.  Yep, I just used the word “bored” with a family tradition.  My to-do list was stealing my fun.

The crunching of snow faded into the forest and occasionally I would hear shout-outs and my kids would trail after it.  I continued to “watch” the almost-perfect Christmas tree.  You know, in case it wandered off.

The kids circled back around and a snowball fight erupted.  An ambush ended in laughter.  And we endured a 4 year olds mishap that triggered self-inflicted face scrunching.

I’ll spare you the details.

But, once I realized we were aiming for an all-nighter (yep, that was a major exaggeration) I relaxed and had fun.  We had fun because we were making memories, not stifling them.

It really was simple.  I just gave more fully of me.  I should have tried that earlier.



DECIDE to Give a More Perfect You.

This Christmas season is caked with decisions: decisions about gifts, calendar items, or decoration hopping and swapping, and wrapping and boxing.  Decide to give a little more of you.  Don’t keep you all to your awesome little self.

Think about it.  Christ’s life was the perfect gift.  Books were written about his life, not about the trinkets he bought or the projects he mastered.  His focus was on relationships.  So, why not give a more perfect you?  Decide to give the best of you this Christmas season.

Remember the acronym DECIDE to build more powerful memories and relationships.

D- Drop.

Drop what you are doing and spend time with someone.  When a glass slips out of your hand and shatters into a gazillion little pieces: it’s accidental.  Dropping (verses slipping) involves letting go.  It’s a choice.

Life doesn’t have to go to pieces because you choose to spend time and memories with someone.  Actually, choosing to drop creates softer falls.  It’s softer because you plan for it. Plan to drop more for your relationships; see how they improve.  Even little things make a difference.

I dropped writing time  (ahem… yes, for this article) for a quick game of pick up sticks with my four year old.  Not that it makes me a hero- not hardly.   More like a villain, really.  But, for 3 1/2 minutes our moment mattered.  Being mesmerized by his dented dimpled cheek was totally worth it. Totally.  When you wake up tomorrow say to yourself “I’m gonna drop something for someone today.”  Psh!  Why wait.  Say it now.  Let me know how it goes.

E- Engage.

Engage in more meaningful moments.  Remember to use these other “E” words to be more fully engaged:  Eyes: make eye contact.  Ears: listen more intently.  Elbows: put some elbow grease into it.  Work at making your moment work.  Focus. Focus.  Epidermis: remember anyone with an epidermis and a facial expression has priority over gadgets with gigabytes.

Let people, not things, hold you captive.  Unplug from your devices, turn off the computer, tv; whatever.  And, oh, splash on a smile while you are at it.

C- Connect.

Find your common ground.  Make your connections count… and count your connections.  When you lay down to sleep go over your day and think about those who are closest to you.  Who did you connect with today?  Who should you have connected with?  These simple questions just spur you into better relationships but only if you want them to.

I- Improve.

With daily efforts improving is a natural consequence. You can improve at anything with consistent effort.  Just do one eensy little thing.  Say “I love you,” give a hug, write a note, notice a deed and comment on it, smile, put down your phone, sprinkle foot powder in your loved ones shoe instead of complaining about their stinky feet.  What are the little things you do?

D- Donate.

Donate your time.  Ah, here it is- the all time classic relationship builder: time.  There’s a difference in donations of time, though.  So be aware.

Years ago I was throwing together a donation bag for the D.I. when my little guy piped up, “Mom, why are you donating that?  It has a hole.”  I was shoving cruddy, ripped, and stained clothes in a bag.  The answer was simple, I didn’t want them.

Wow.  My 5 year-olds sermon was sinking in.  If he didn’t want it neither would anyone else.

Donations that come with a sacrifice are more meaningful.  No one wants your time if you don’t want their time.  People can see right through that holey donation.  Put a little more heart into it.  Next time you spend time with someone ask yourself would a certain 5 year old approve of this donation?

I’ve had to rewrite my donation slips a few times.

E- Enjoy.

Don’t just puppy guard your tree or your emotions, join in the fun.  Throw a snowball or a joke, but don’t throw a fit.  It’s pretty plain and simple.  Step back for just a second and realize that you will never EVER get a chance at this moment again.  What are you doing to give a more better you?

Decide to create more timeless moments and spend less time in moments that don’t matter.  During this Christmas season DECIDE to give the gift that matters: you.

You’ll have no regrets.


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