We have it so good. I mean really. If you’re reading this via Facebook or email and have the means by which to access the internet, I’m betting you have your basic needs covered. Food, shelter, clothing. Which is more than most of the world can claim. Then, if you have a loving family, a job that provides a comfortable living and a loved one by your side through thick and thin, that’s gravy. But how often do we complain that what we have just isn’t enough? That it’s all so difficult to maintain or it’s not “perfect”? Or “I’ll be happy when…”?

What I feel this season is really about is taking stock of what we have and showing our appreciation for it. Giving gifts, be they through objects, word or deed, to those who bless our lives and without whom our world just wouldn’t be the same.

There are a few key gifts over the years that stick out in my mind. Like the year, from the photo above, when my parents tied a yellow string to one of the Christmas tree branches that led to a life-size, pink, Barbie convertible parked in the garage. Life-size for my pint-size anyway. And the year Santa brought me roller skates and I was actually able to skate on our frozen-solid swimming pool. That was cool. Oh, and the year I got my first real bike and spent the better part of that day cruising around the neighborhood.

But more than the gifts, I remember the overall experience. Sitting by the fire listening to old LP’s of Little Drummer Boy and Silent Night. Dad whipping out the electric carving knife to slice the turkey he had doctored all day long. Brothers, grandparents and cousins perching around the bar enjoying Manhattans, martinis and good conversation. Giving of ourselves to create an enjoyable experience. Thinking of Christmas’ past gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling. And incredible gratitude to my family for providing that for all of us.

In 20 years you won’t remember the gifts necessarily but you will have a memory of your overall experience. What you gave to one another in spirit. So how will you choose to spend this holiday season? What can you give without spending a dime? What experience do you want to create for you and your loved ones? Because in the end, that’s what counts. And that’s what you’ll remember. The experience.

And if you need a reminder of how not to react this holiday season, click here.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

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