No More Holiday Gifts?! Presence vs Presents

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When you look back at the holidays, birthdays, or other celebrations that you have great memories from, what are those memories?  Do you remember the gifts?  While something you got may have been great to play with for a short while, it probably didn’t last very long. Maybe you got to experience something fun and exciting and were around people that you love.

In this video, we are talking about the importance and power of your presence versus giving them presents.

When I was growing up, I remember my parents always being really generous with giving gifts for birthdays and holidays. But the positive memories from those times don’t involve gifts.  They involve the celebrations and experiences I had with my family and friends.

If you are familiar with the 5 Love Languages, one of the the languages is giving or receiving gifts which can bring joy to people.  In other words, some people love getting gifts, and some people love giving gifts.  It makes them feel good. However the joy of giving and receiving physical gifts is short term. Although when we create experiences or spend time with each other, we create memories that can last a lifetime.   You can also take pictures or video that allow you to recreate that experience in your mind.

I know, your son really wants that toy for the holidays, or your daughter has to have that thing for her birthday….  and you feel like if you give it to them you will make them happy. I challenge you to look back at the positive memories you have from your own childhood celebrations.  Was it really the gifts that stick out?  As a father, the quality time you spend with your child is so important.  Your presence in their life provides them so much value. So whether it’s the holidays, a birthday, or some other celebration, here are 3 ways to give your child your presence:

#1 – Plan an overnight getaway together:  Instead of a toys, spend the money on a getaway for you and your child one on one.  Whether it’s an overnight stay at a hotel or a weekend camping, use the money you were going to spend on presents and take your kid somewhere. If a hotel has a swimming pool or other activities, this is like heaven for some kids. Stay up late talking and experiencing things together.  These kind of one one one experiences are so important. Be sure to explain to your child the importance of spending time together and experiencing new things. This is often where yearly traditions can be established. Those are the kind of awesome memories that will stick with them.

#2 – Give them a coupon book of your time:  You can even make this if you are handy but they also sell them.  Maybe the coupons are things like “play your favorite game together” or “cook your favorite meal together”. The idea is to do things together that the child enjoys.  The child gets to give you a coupon and you make the activity a priority.

#3 – Secure a regular date with your child – While this can be difficult for some people’s schedules, try to plan a regular date with them.  For example, “every Wednesday evening, you and I will spend 1 hour before bedtime doing something you like.  We can play games, color, etc.   or on Saturday mornings, you and I will ride our bikes around the park.  Whether you are experiencing something together or simply providing them your time, these kind of gifts don’t have a price tag.  They are priceless. While a child might say they rather have pokemon cards or some type of electronics, your presence is going to have a much greater impact than pikachu or a video game.

I’d love to hear from you.  What is a memory you have from childhood that involved a holiday or celebration?  Leave your feedback in the comments below.


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