If you are like me, it can sometimes be confusing or downright baffling what to do for your friends and family members when it comes to Holidays, Birthdays, or heck, just when you want to do something nice for them. I know that there are all different kinds of ways that people express appreciation and love for those people close to them, but I think for most of us, it comes down to feeling like we have to “get them something.”
I am right there with you. Maybe a bit more. You see, I FEEL like I am showing love and appreciation by finding the perfect card, gift, or event. Nothing else seems to create that sense of having done the right thing for someone if it doesn’t involve a thing, at least for me.
After almost four years of talking with grandfathers, adult grandchildren, and experts on grandparenting, the thing that means the most to grandkids, and I think to other people, is time. I know what you are about to say, “I cherish the pocketknife I received when Grandpa thought I was old enough to have one.” It is not that things can’t mean a lot to us, but I am going to bet that what the pocketknife represents most are the memories of spending time with Grandpa learning how to whittle down a branch to use as a skewer to cook a hotdog with.
Time is the one thing none of us can get back and the one thing that most of us wish we had more, especially when thinking of the time, or lack thereof, that we had to spend with close friends and family.
This Christmas and Holiday season, I want to challenge you to find ways to give the gift of your time above the gifts you can purchase. To help you out, here are a few ways that I have learned from other cool grandpas to share the gift of YOU.
- Share a walk or a hike without earbuds or electronics.
- Grab a spontaneous meal and spend one-on-one time without rushing to return.
- Play a board game. You can find tremendous two-player games if you want that valuable one-on-one time or multi-player games. The point is to have some fun and conversations while doing something together.
- Play a game of ‘Horse’ at the local school or playground. ‘Horse’ is excellent for us old guys because you are doing something that allows the grandchild to show off some athletic skills while still not risking life and limb if you haven’t been active lately.
- If available, get in a canoe or row boat and paddle around with your grandchild. Being in a boat is a great way to talk and NOT have to look at each other, especially if you want to talk about heavier subjects.
- Find a car show and walk around talking about cars, girls, growing up, etc. Whatever is on your mind and theirs.
- Make a fire. Having a fire is a great way to relax and let the magic of the fire take over and guide the conversation. Don’t have a backyard where you can have a fire; it’s not a big deal. Get yourself a small portable firepit or stove. Trust me, there is something about a fire that lends itself to conversation.
- Read a book to the grandchildren. If you have younger grandchildren, they may not be able to participate in some of the other activities…yet. However, reading a book or story to them is an excellent way for grandchildren to become interested in the story AND you.
Much of what I have suggested on this list are activities you can do with your adult friends and family.
At the end of the day, the people that I have cared most about are the people that I would like to have had more time with. More time to shoot the stuff with. More time to sing with. More time to be around with.
So, this season, as we are looking for the be-all-end-all-gift that says we are thinking of someone. Do them and YOU a favor and give the gift of YOUR TIME.
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