I shuffled down the hallway in my new holiday pajamas – a birthday gift from my sister Lisa. Fleece-lined and crazy soft, they have the words, “Snow Queen” splashed across the chest and it makes me laugh every time I catch my reflection in a window.
There’s nothing like staying in pajamas on a quiet holiday morning which is why I decided they’d make the perfect cooking attire to work in as I prepared my part of the Thanksgiving dinner we’d be sharing with friends later in the day.
As I removed food from the fridge, I remembered my holiday ritual and quickly went to a nearby bookcase to pull a CD from a small stack of favorites. The label read: Thanksgiving Music.
In the mid-1980s, I facilitated my first support group for young men and women who were interested in exploring the immerging world of self-improvement. We met every Thursday night for twelve weeks and at the final session a shy, young woman handed me a gift.
“Thank you for helping me to make my life better,” she said signaling for me to open the present. As I unwrapped a cassette tape, she explained, “I made this mix tape filled with some of my favorite New Age music. I hope you like it.”
I loved it! Over the years, having transferred the tape to a CD, I listen to it repeatedly throughout the holiday season. I listen not only because the music is beautiful, but also because it reminds me of her and our time together long ago.
This year, as I chopped onions and carrots to Andreas Vollenweider and songs from the Narada holiday collection, I thought about how a simple, inexpensive gift made with love has brought me so much joy over the years.
At a time when many are struggling with the high cost of essentials (not to mention a world filled to the brim with so much stuff), it might be wise to do things differently this year. A framed photo of a special memory shared with a friend, a handmade piece of art, or your own curated playlist crafted with intention, may be the best, most memorable present of all.