Presence > Presents

Presence > Presents
Photo by Christopher Bill / Unsplash

It felt like one of Those Weeks.

We celebrated Hanukkah every night this week, which is always an adventure with two impatient kids. They're still learning the concept of only one present every night (as am I). We're traveling to celebrate Christmas with my family this weekend, which requires lots of planning ahead. And we spent the morning digging out of a bomb cyclone, which is also the reason I rushed to get snow tires on my car for the weekend's drive.

It would've been easy to get sucked in to the holiday stress and become a grinch.

Then on one of the nights of Hanukkah, one of my kids got pumped when he opened... a box. He had no idea what was in the box. He just lost his mind over a box.

In that moment, I realized the shopping doesn't matter. The planning and travel don't matter. Getting snow tires doesn't matter. Whether you got the perfect gift doesn't matter.

Presents don't matter. Presence matters.

My kid was pumped because he knew it was a special occasion and everyone was in the moment together. I'm sure he didn't mind that there was a gift in the box, but I don't remember what it was, and I bet he doesn't, either.

So, my challenge to you (and to myself) over these next few days is to set aside the stress of planning for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Festivus, or whatever you celebrate. Set aside the worries about the bomb cyclone, packing, traveling, and whether you bought the perfect gift. Just be with your loved ones. You don't know how many holidays are left and presence is the best gift you can give.

In that spirit, I'm keeping it short this week. I need to wake the boys up from their naps and prep for our Chrisbookukah celebration. It's the tradition in our house where we celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas by exchanging books and spending a low-key evening together before Christmas travel.

As my wife likes to say, merry and happy everything, and I'll see you in 2023.