In our consumer-minded society, we tend to imagine a link between the extent of our love and the expense of our gifts. The more we love someone, the more money we need to spend on him or her, especially at Christmastime. However, true love is not measured by how much of your wealth you give; it is measured by how much of yourself that you give.
This Christmas, move beyond just giving “stuff.” Give of yourself. Give presence, not just presents. After all, isn’t that what Jesus did for us? If you share a hobby with someone you love, for example, perhaps you can set aside some time to work on that hobby together. Or perhaps you could create a scrapbook of shared memories to give as a gift. It may be relatively inexpensive financially, but it will be packed full of meaning.
If you have a friend who is a reader, consider purchasing two copies of the same book. Then you can read through the book at the same time, meeting regularly to discuss it. For your spouse, consider creative ways to give your most valuable possession: your time. Perhaps you could give your spouse a gift certificate for a shared evening together… perhaps to watch a movie at home with pizza and popcorn included, or perhaps to go to a local hotel for a night alone together. For your children, how about giving them an uninterrupted afternoon with you? You could go for a hike together, have a snowball fight, go on a sleigh ride, or skate at the local ice rink.
The point is not that you spend less money; it is that you give more personal and meaningful gifts. These gifts may or may not include some expense, but they should always include a thoughtful and personal investment of your time, energy, and presence.