I grew up decorating the house for Christmas on the day after Thanksgiving. Once the tree is up, my mind kicks into full holiday gear, especially thinking about all the things I need to do.
Addressing cards. Writing the annual Christmas letter. Baking. Making our traditional salamis and cheese balls. Filling the house with Christmas music. Attending parties. And last but not least, shopping and wrapping gifts for others.
Gifts seem to monopolize the season. And when you consider we are celebrating the greatest gift ever given - God Himself in the form of a baby - it's no wonder!
Still, I'm trying to turn the minds of my children to what they are giving more than what they might receive. We've already given a stack of loaded shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child and plan to Adopt-A-Family through our local church. That's a start.
But the gift of giving goes beyond wrapped packages under a tree.
During the past football season, you could say that I gave my husband the chance to pursue his dream of coaching at the college level - by working extra hours to replace the portion of salary he lost while volunteering his time and keeping the family running while he was on the road with the team.
This Saturday I'm giving another type of gift. This one is the gift of my time to sit at a book-signing table for a writer friend fighting for her life. Sandi Rog was diagnosed with Stage 4 T-cell Lymphoma as her first book, The Master's Wall, released. With the chemo and radiation, she can't be exposed to germs and was going to have to cancel the chance to promote her book. In support of her dream - not to mention the fact her publisher is giving a dollar per book above her royalties to support Sandi's husband and four kids - I'm glad to be able to do something to help sell a few of her books. (If you like inspirational historical fiction, you will love this story set in Ancient Rome. I devoured her book in a matter of days!)
And I'm giving one more gift this December. This gift is for me. Another gift of time. Time to dream my own dreams and to ask God where He wants to take my writing in 2011. Time to recharge my creative batteries and get caught up on a stack of books waiting to be read. Time to spend with family. Time to end the year focused on relationships rather than lists of things to do.
So, unless I'm otherwise inspired, I'll be taking a break from blogging until January.
What about you? What unusual gifts are you giving this year? What gifts have you given yourself?