Presence over Presents

Cause it’s not the presents under my tree
It’s your presence right here next to me

The Christmas season is always such a whirlwind of decorating, shopping, baking, eating and comings and goings that it often feels much shorter than it is.  Too often I think people allow the stresses of the season to take away the joy that Christmas is meant to be.  Whether it’s trying to find the perfect gift or cooking the perfect ham, people can easily lose sight of the truly special moments.

I used to really enjoy gift giving.  I found it fun to shop for others as I never honestly enjoyed shopping much for myself.  Wrapping the gifts brought enjoyment as well.  The best was seeing the expressions on the faces of those to whom I gave the gifts.

This year, however, was the biggest struggle when it came to gift giving – both in telling others what to get me as well as deciding what to get them.  It frustrated me at times and made me question why we even needed to exchange gifts.  I just wanted to enjoy time with people.

Looking back over the past two weeks I see that I actually got to enjoy more people’s company this holiday season than I realized.

I attended my monthly Citizen’s Climate Lobby meeting and provided eggnog and cookies from two new recipes Jason and I tried out this year.  The snack was well appreciated and it felt good to spend some of the holiday with like-minded climate change advocates.

I had been greatly missing my friend, Alecia, who lives in Chicago, despite having gone on a cruise with her and her husband in September.  I texted her and was pleasantly surprised when she was able to arrange a phone date for us.  In general I am not a phone person having worked nearly 5 years in call centers.  Talking with a best friend on the phone though brings about a feeling of closeness that texting simply cannot match.

Last week my Wed. night running group ran both Wed. night as usual and then joined several other local runners for a Christmas light run on Thurs.  Looking at Christmas lights has always topped my list of favorite holiday activities so combining that with running and good company made for a very enjoyable evening.  Unfortunately, our plans to enjoy dinner at Mexitaly after the run were sidelined by an enormous crowd within the restaurant.  We chose to pop over to Perkins instead which was very slow both in terms of customers and service.  I still enjoyed the opportunity to dine out with friends after the run though.

Fri. after work I visited my friend, Angel, and her 4 month old son, Lucas.  I will give Angel props in that I know a lot of people tend to “back burner” their friends when they have a new baby, but she is not one of them.  I understand why many people do this as having a baby is a big stressful life change.  The fact that she always kept regularly in touch even while on maternity leave and respects that while I enjoy hearing about Lucas (I am not a baby person) our conversations are best when they have varied topics.  We enjoyed frozen pizza and watching the animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas (a movie I watch every year) and bonding deeper than what our daily Skype messages during work can provide.

Jason and I exchanged presents on Christmas Eve; 3 items each totaling under $50 because we enjoy gift giving but don’t see the sense in spending tons of money on it.  I’m looking forward to reading the two books he got me as well as watching Logan again, having seen it in theaters earlier this year.  The best part of the Christmas weekend though wasn’t the gift exchange.  It was the quality time spent together.  On Saturday we enjoyed a late lunch at Great American Saloon and came home to make more rum balls for my aunt’s party as well as watch The Night Before (another movie that requires yearly watching due to its hilarity and my fascination with Joseph Gordon-Levitt).

The “tidings of comfort and joy” in those seemingly simple activities are what I truly enjoyed most during the Christmas season.  I hope everyone got to enjoy the presence of family and friends and not stress about the actual presents.  For that is truly what makes it the “most wonderful time of the year”.

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About TracyNicole

Runner. Writer. Reader. Environmental advocate. Fascinated by the ocean, waterfalls and Christmas lights. Inspired by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Elon Musk.
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