Here we are at that time of year again. Yes, the time of year when I am afraid of turning on the television- even for a football game, going shopping- even to the grocery store or sometimes even leaving the house- watching our neighbors unloading trunks full of abundant surprises. Everywhere we look are advertisements for everything one would need to feel “loved and happy”. That is the underlying message sent throughout the season. The more you “get” or the more you “give” (material possessions) the better you will feel. Well I say “bah humbug” to the billion dollar advertising campaigns!!!

How about creating a tradition of an experiential holiday season, sharing of ourselves and not from our wallets? Instead, how about spending all the time we would have spent shopping at the malls or on the internet, hunting for that “perfect” gift, on time for ourselves and with those we care most about. Presence, not presents. Lets be honest, that’s what we want most of all anyways, is to feel like we belong and matter to others, to spend time with those we care for and care about, those who we see every day or only on holidays, those who by being with them we feel “loved and happy.”

This season create an experience for you and your loved ones that will be cherished for years to come. Pool all the family resources that would have been used on a gift exchange and buy tickets for a theatre show, and go as a group.  Or take a trip to the snow for the day or a winter bonfire at the beach, with hot chocolate and s’mores.  Has anyone ever seen grandpa on a surf board or in a snowball fight? Our family has and it is the gift that keeps on giving. I guarantee that years from now, no one will remember which rescue hero or what bottle of perfume they received from whom. They will remember our presence, the time we shared, the laughs we had, and the traditions that were created. It is a legacy to leave and there is no time like the present to share our presence.

May you be blessed with the presence of everyone you cherish this holiday season!

All my best,


P.S.  For some ideas on how to change up your holiday traditions and gift giving, check out New American Dream — this is a great year to bring the spirit of the season back into your life and family!