I wish there were words to describe my love of Christmas, but I have not been able to come up with them yet. To simply say it is my favorite time of year just does not do it the justice it deserves. Christmas is the joyous smell of vanilla candles, the taste of freshly baked chocolate crinkle cookies, carols on the radio and memories made with family. It is a time for fond reflection on the past and hope for the future. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Some of my most memorable childhood Christmases were during some of the toughest financial times my parents ever had. My step-dad was a line worker at General Motors working to support a family of six. Despite the hardship that the ’80s put on our family, Christmas was spectacular. My mom baked the most amazing sugar cookies, my dad always found the perfect tree and Santa never left my sisters or me wanting for anything. As an adult, I often look back to the Christmases we spent on Madison Street and am still in awe of how they managed to pull it off. I’ve been blessed with three kids of my own and I hope that one day they look back on their childhood holidays with wonderment. I’ve managed to keep some of my family childhood traditions and blend them with a few new ones to make them our own. It’s funny that we spend so much time thinking about what to buy those in our lives yet when I look back it’s not the gifts that stand out, but rather the time and traditions leading up to Christmas morning. Still, gift giving is an inevitable part of the season, so take a few ideas with you as you head out to shop this season. Give Something that Lasts The older I get, the more sentimental I become. One of the traditions that I am so glad that I began with Tyler was giving him a Christmas tree ornament every year of his life. I continued it with Alexander and Jessica and it is so fun to pull them out of the box every year as we decorate the tree. Tyler bought his own house this year and will be decorating his own tree with his ornaments for the first time. Even though I have a little sadness about him growing up so quickly, I am excited to know that he has something from his childhood with him as he begins a new stage in his life. Give History It seems like gift giving gets harder the older you get. We are a society of consumers who want things right now. Sometimes finding something meaningful and useful can be challenging. As many gadgets and widgets as there are available, there are some items that you just can’t buy. Personally, there would be nothing more perfect than to have my Grandma Jessie’s recipes. While the latest and greatest technology is great, being able to cook up a pot of her goulash or bake a batch of her malted cupcakes on a cold winter day would bring me so much more joy. Give From Your Heart The most important thing to remember this holiday season is to give from your heart. It’s easy to get caught up in the trap of spending more than you have to try to buy the happiness of those you love. It is truly the thought that counts. Are you an amazing cook? A candle lit dinner is something that people young and old enjoy. Are you crafty, handy, artsy? Use your talents to make a one-of-a-kind item that will be treasured. As we move into this season of joy, remember the greatest gift you can give those you love most is your time and attention. That is something that money can never buy. Happy Holidays!
Shelley Davis Mielock
Shelley Davis Mielock is a certified business image coach and the founder of Mieshel Image Consulting, a Lansing-based firm that specializes in image development for individuals and businesses. She is also a co-host of In Her Shoes, a a weekly women’s talk radio show. To ask Shelley an image question, please e-mail her.