Recently, I celebrated a friend’s birthday. I wanted to do something special, so naturally, I obsessed over every detail. Since I am a big proponent of the “birthday month,” I started drafting a potential itinerary in advance of things we could do, places we could see, and where we could eat. Then came more practical questions such as: What would make the perfect present? Will she like it? Would it be something she would use?
In the days leading up to my friend’s birthday, I decided to email her the agenda. Her response made me pause. She had only one request, which I happily obliged her in, but internally struggled with its simplicity.
While trying to keep my friend’s wishes in mind for a low-key celebration, I was still determined to find the perfect present(s). You can imagine my excitement when I finally finished creating her birthday box and began counting down the minutes like an impatient kid on Christmas until I could give it to her. Watching her open the box that I carefully curated gave me more joy than I can recount, but it was her handwritten card with a meaningful message that landed in my mailbox a few days later that moved me.
I had made such a point about her birthday, that I had forgotten why the celebration was so truly special in the first place. It wasn’t the material items that were in the box that she’ll remember, but rather the moments that we created together that truly mattered—the time spent talking about nothing and absolutely everything, the quiet minutes between the music, and the laughing while dancing in my living room. Those moments were the most priceless gifts I could have given her, and hopefully memories that we both will cherish.
I share this story with you as we all prepare to show our love with presents this holiday season. And while it’s nice to give and receive shiny new things, the most meaningful gift you can give someone is your presence and your time. I hope you take a minute to appreciate the moments you create this holiday season for yourself and the ones you love. For, in the end, only the moments matter.