Country MoonJust like most kids, when I was young, I couldn’t wait for Christmas and all the gifts. I knew that on Christmas morning there would be many under the tree from “Santa” and then we would head to my grandparents and there would be more and there was always the exchange at school.

Then, like most kids, I grew up and figured out that the real gifts were the ones that couldn’t be wrapped in pretty paper. The gift of time with loved ones became far more special. I was reminded of that fact even more profoundly this year as I struggled with my shopping list. It’s not about the money, but rather it’s about the frivolousness of it all. Kids get so much stuff that they rip open one package and throw it aside to move on to the next one without even seeing what they get. Enough.

There had to be a better way of giving--truly giving gifts from the heart. Keeping with the spirit of the season, I was reminded three times that the best gifts do not come with ribbons and bows.

The first lesson was when I started my Christmas cards this year. I love to get cards, and I really do like to send them. There is nothing like curling up with a mug of hot cocoa in front of the fire and writing them out. It just always seems like there are so many and then people move and you need to get new addresses. The whole idea of the cards is to reach out to those that are far away and those that you don’t see. Somehow, this seems backwards to me. If we haven’t seen someone in a year, why do we reach out to them year after year only on Christmas?

I decided to go through my Rolodex and that was the first shocker. A couple of years ago, there were 135 people on my list. Given, each year there are a few names that come off, but this year I was down to 86. Wow, that is an eye opener. How could so many people just not be part of my life anymore?

There were three people that, for one reason or another, I just had not had any contact with in years. I set those cards out and vowed to call each one that day. One was a former painting instructor from whom I had taken painting lessons for nearly four years. I had no idea whether he was still painting or not.

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