What is my favorite thing about the holidays? To answer the question, I have to tell a funny story that happened at Thanksgiving this year. My mom sets a fantastic Thanksgiving table. She puts a lot of effort into doing it right. So this year, in the middle of the family gathering, mom surprised us all by asking us to name the most powerful four-letter word in the English language.
You could tell by the silence that everyone’s brain had gone the same place mine did – right into the gutter! What was mom thinking? She doesn’t even know “those” words, does she?
Mom gave us all a minute to stew, then gave us her answer. Love.
What a simple and honest statement! As soon as she said it, I knew she was right. And I also realized that one small, four-letter word sums up for me what the holidays are all about.
Before mom put it into words for me, I would have said that my favorite thing about the holidays is reconnecting with people. We rush through the year and lose track of friends and family. But for me the holiday season, especially Christmas, is a time to renew my connections with the people who are important to me.
That is an important aspect of the love my mom talked about. At Christmas, I hear from people all over the country and sometimes even further away. We share news through cards or email or personal visits and reform the bonds that are an integral part of who we are.
Another important way love is revealed around the holidays is through gifts. I love giving gifts. For me, giving is always better than receiving. I love spending the time to find the perfect gift for someone and seeing his or her appreciation for the love and consideration that went into the gift.
The best gifts to give are the ones that are unexpected. My good friend Dr. Pamela Peeke has this down to a science. I love what she does every year to help people she doesn’t even know!
During the holidays, Pam heads out to Target or Kmart or some other store that does layaways. She watches for a while until someone comes in to make a payment. After they leave, she goes to the clerk and pays off the layaway.