Gifts that keep on giving

The crescendo of gift season hits us every December. Shopping, buying, wrapping, giving, getting. It can feel like a marathon. And it can get stressy.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of this season. But I need to step back now and then, regroup, and think about the whole concept of gifts.
Over time, I have become totally convinced of the old cliché: it’s more blessed to give than receive. As we get older, able to buy most of what we need for ourselves, no longer living in anticipation of receiving a Barbie doll or Red Ryder BB gun, gifts take on a different meaning.
Gifts of value come in unusual, sometimes unexpected, packages. For me, a true gift has an element of reciprocity. We give them and they give back to us. It’s never “one and done.” A true gift keeps on giving. 


Parenting is the hardest job most of us will ever have. But giving one’s all to being a parent usually pays off with a lifetime of returns in love, laughs, companionship, connection, learning, and joy. As every year goes by, I am more in love with and proud of my boys, Joseph and William. They are the best gift I have ever received. And it ain’t over. The gift keeps giving until I shuffle off the stage.
Friends and Family
Like kids, friends and family are a big investment. A lot of giving is required. But the investment pays us back in splendid ways. Over the past nine years, as I have hit some serious bumps in the road, friends and relations have come through for me in countless ways, repaying my investment a thousand-thousand fold. And, as with kids, it just keeps on going  – round and round.
A Good House
I had to get around to real estate, of course, but it’s true. A house is a big investment, but the right one pays off big time. Initially providing shelter, comfort, and a stage for our lives, and as time passes, building equity and appreciating in value. As we invest in the house, it gives back in benefits that renting does not.
The Act of Giving Itself
The act of giving becomes a gift back to you. Give a gift – especially one of service – and it always comes back to you. Sometimes the return isn’t direct or obvious, but it’s there if you look for it. And here’s an interesting twist I learned during hard times when friends and family helped me. The act of receiving – if done with gratitude – is a gift back to the giver. When our friends and loved ones want to give to us, accepting their gifts gives them joy. It goes round and round.
So, my holiday wish for you is this: live a little, give a little, love your neighbor, buy some real estate, and have a happy, peaceful season.