Though some say the economic recovery is not as sluggish as many believed, unemployment persists . This year, our family is digging deeper into our imaginations than our wallets – focusing less on “things” and more on intangible gifts:
• Hope—A small, thoughtful gesture to others when times are hard gives as much to the giver as to the recipient. A young officer in Iraq on Christmas Eve made sure to “play Santa” for his homesick soldiers by stuffing their boots with the contents of his care packages from home .
• Values—Model the behaviors you want in your children. Don’t go into debt at holiday time. After Santa leaves a lighter load around the tree, decide as a family how to help your church, or a local charity; your gift need not be monetary .
• Time— What can we each give family member that costs only time? Stay with the baby so the new parents can go out? Refinish a piece of furniture? Work with a child to help with spring gardening, or paint the garage?
• Reading—Choose a book with special significance for each child at holiday time, or subscribe to a magazine according to interest. Both will motivate young readers ! Limit TV and electronic game time. Suggest a book you’ve read, then talk about it together.
• Traditions—Enjoy friends and neighbors by attending the signature seasonal events in your community. Give tickets to something you can do together . Share the special foods or customs that connect a family, and link generations.
• Memories—The more of these you make together, the more will be retold as family lore, oral history, or perhaps become the basis of a book .