It is the time of year – that time when many are scurrying about to purchase gifts for one another.

While many gifts are given with great joy; some are given out of a perceived obligation. The financial strain and time constraints to get everything done for everyone can create great stress.

Some spend hours searching for just the right gift. Christmas decoration on defocused lights background

Standing in a line in the dark of the night or rescheduling family meals to make sure you get the best retail deal. Others search on-line during the wee hours of the morning to uncover the next amazing gadget.

Who doesn’t love a great bargain – oh the excitement of the boxes arriving at your door one-by-one? And then there is the sorting through the bags from the stores and dreaming of how delighted each person will be with their new sweater or toy.

I have done all of the above and many more times than I care to admit.

I’ve spent my time traveling for hours to outlet malls in the cold and snow searching for the perfect gift in every store in the state. Shop until you drop – that was me; after all – my full time job in the electronics industry had me chasing the best deals on widgets to make gadgets for almost 20 years. I would drag unwilling co-shoppers along with the rues of spending quality time together on a great adventure.

I even exclaimed that it was therapeutic – retail therapy right?

As I get older – and hopefully wiser – the things I wish to give and receive can’t be purchased or wrapped.

They won’t be found under a sparkling tree or inside box with a bow. I appreciate our family’s simple approach to the season. We gather for a meal and enjoy the day together. Maybe a game of dominoes, the assembly of a jigsaw puzzle or cheering for our favorite football team; and of course a few stories of days gone by.  Some years we even get to build a snowman or make a snow angel.

I believe in the miracles that abound all year but it seems easier to identify them now.

Generosity seem more free flowing, as many more seem to be giving to those in need. We pull a tag from a tree and begin to check off the list or donate money to the tolling of a bell.

Why do we wait to give until now?

Do we hold back through the other months so we can do more this time of year?

JOY is the gift I will exchange this year.

What I want more than anything else is to share laughter with the ones I love. These are the things we will cherish the most. My wish for you is that you find joy today and every day.

What gift will you exchange this season?

Blessings for all the best!

– Beth