The Present of Your Presence

By: Mira T.

"Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas." Dale Evans

When I was a child, I remember all the anticipation building up to Christmas morning to see what Santa had left for me under the tree. I was barely able to sleep the night before and of course, I was the first one to check on the gifts the morning after. Had I been a good girl the whole year? Definitely not. But I hoped that the good old man would appreciate my efforts and give me another chance to improve. And yes, Santa was gracious--every single year.

I remember the smell of fresh-made coffee, everybody in their pajamas, the sound of wrapping paper being frantically torn, the surprises, the smiles shortly after that. A colorful manifestation of happiness. That was all Christmas was about.

Of course, when you’re ten or fifteen years old, you measure time differently. You weigh important things differently. Because time and people seem infinite, nothing seems to be as important as the presents. But time flies and you wake up one day to find out that there’s something more important on your happiness scale than any surprise you could possibly find under the tree. Maybe this is because growing up changes our focus and priorities. Or maybe it’s about observing and gaining experience in life. Somewhere between being a kid and becoming an adult, our perceptions and ideas of the world changes. I looked back trying to figure out when that happened for me, but honestly, I’m not quite sure.

Part of me thinks I always thought the way I do now but of course, time played a role in my development and shaped my own perspective of life. I’ve met people with the same view as mine. I’m attracted by the way they see people, acknowledging how much our presence in the lives of others means and how important that is. I’ve also met people who have disregarded this idea and tried to implement their own vision that people don’t matter as much as we believe and our presence isn’t as important as we think. Somehow, I think that everything that we value as adults has already been formed in those moments during childhood, like the ones around the Christmas tree, when we learn for the very first time what should come first and matter most in life.

I used to neglect the fact that, without people around us, a gift is just another object bought from the store. Just imagine, for a moment, a Christmas tree with a lot of gifts but no people around. The best part of Christmas is actually missing -- people. Humans. The ultimate creators of unforgettable, stunning gifts called emotions. Emotions wrapped up in tiny little moments that last forever.

So, it was never actually about the gift itself then, right? Rather, it was the fact that somebody thought of us and tried to make us happy in some way. For the same reason, we tend to keep really ordinary gifts (even gifts we don't like), not because of the thing itself but because of the person who gave it to us. Because giving is another way of connecting with each other.

I still wait with anticipation to wake up on Christmas but now it's just to see the people I love being there. I've realized that what I'm hoping for isn’t another present under the tree but the company of someone I love sitting next to me.

Christmas is a wish to stop time and capture, like a photo, the spirit of being able to be together. Christmas is a thought about someone, even though sometimes the people who matter the most won’t be with us. Christmas is about being humble in our wishes and grateful for having someone to hold, to kiss, to share a moment with.

I still love presents (a lot), just a different kind. Presents that make you feel home, comfortable, loved. Presents that cannot be bought but felt. Presents that remind us how fragile we are and that valuable things are not wrapped up in a gorgeous paper but rather, have flaws. Each one of us creates Christmas with our own attitude, our kindness, and with the way we approach people.

It’s not about the presents but the presence in all its forms.

Be that present for someone.

Mira T.