Give Your Presence, Not Your Presents


I liked the Dear Abby suggestion in this morning’s newspaper about what to give to older parents when looking for gift suggestions.  A woman, Truly Blessed In Montana, wrote in telling about what her daughter and son-in-law do for her which is paraphrased here.  Because her daughter lives out of state, they only see each other a couple of times a year.  When they do visit her, they do things for her that she can no longer do for herself.  Her daughter scrubs the bathroom, cleans the refrigerator, kitchen cabinets, carpets, and other places that need deep cleaning.  Her son-in-law trims trees and bushes, and general yard cleanup outside.  Before coming to visit, the daughter prepares dinners, soups, etc. and freezes them.  These all come to mom for her freezer.  What a great gift to give parents!

Beyond what Truly Blessed In Montana wrote, Dear Abby offered additional suggestions of gifts to give to older parents or seniors in general.  Gift baskets filled with small cans of tuna, salmon or soup, crackers, instant coffee and herbal teas and cookies.  Gift certifications for groceries, haircuts, manicures, dry cleaning, restaurant meals, theater tickets and department stores; and a nice addition are some prepaid calling cards.  Dear Abby went on to include bus passes, coupons for senior transportation or taxis which gives the recipient a sense of freedom.  There were many other suggestions such as giving the gift of time.

I would like to add that this last gift, giving them you by way of your time is usually the most meaningful.  For some, you may not have family that you feel this applies to, but I can assure you there are many people who don’t have family that will be alone during the holiday season.  Does someone live in your neighborhood that could use a visit from YOU this time of year?  A simple invitation for them to join you for a meal would be most welcome.  If coming to you isn’t possible, go to them.  Pack up a “picnic” style breakfast, lunch or dinner and enjoy the meal with them; don’t just drop it off, because what they really want is your presence not your presents.  Too often when we think about Giving Back to others we think of things, but I can assure you, the most cherished gift of all is spending time with loved ones.

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