The Magic of the Season

Holidays bring to mind special activities, shopping and the giving spirit of the season. We also tend to over schedule, over commit and over spend. This is a note on holiday value – getting the most for your gift giving dollar.

I decided to ask people. “What is your favorite gift?” seems like a simple question. I queried several people, mostly around in my office on what was the best gift they have ever received. The answers were fascinating. Many were surprising for what they did not reveal and what they really got people thinking about for the holidays.

Blank stares met me. And laughter. Total surprise showed on people’s faces – whether at my question or their lack of answers is unclear. Very few had pondered the question before and equally, very few really cared.

What everyone was willing to join in a conversation about their favorite holiday story. The stories focused on family traditions or a holiday event gone wrong or a fun memory. Stories evoke memories of the holidays.

Though the favorite gift question was basically a conversation stopper, the Holiday topic when changed to stories – became centered on the excitement of the season. The stockings hanging up. The packages arriving from grandparents and positioned under the tree. The activities of lighting menorahs or decorating. Everyone had a favorite story they wanted to share.

• A sleeping baby sibling getting lost under the wrapping post gift opening.
• Children getting up before the parents and unwrapping all their gifts – Quietly
• Sitting silently under the tree with Dad every Christmas morning waiting for the rest of the family to awake.

As you are considering the holidays and everything that needs to be done, think about the value of the season. What matters most to you? What are your favorite memories?

Consider these unique gifts with memories:

• Taking a day off and spend it with someone special.
• Create a holiday memory by establishing a new activity
• Write a letter with a gift on why you chose the gift
• Cook a special holiday treat with a child

Can you touch that feeling of the “magic of the season”? The fleeting intangible nature is what we attempt to give when we give gifts. Remember that the feeling may involve much more than how much you spend or where you shopped, but rather the emotion and meaning behind the package. Create a memory or a lasting gift with value. And maybe a story as well.

Christine D. Moriarity, CFP