Give Presence Not Presents

by : Rachel Webb

Throughout the year we have many gift-giving opportunities to show love to those around us. From Christmas to Birthdays, Valentines Day and more, our thoughts turn to finding the perfect gift. Before you shop and wrap remember that our loved ones need more of our presence than our presents! This type of gift giving uses more creativity, less of our money and more of our heart. Need some ideas on how you can give of your presence and not just store bought presents?


Instead of purchasing restaurant gift certificates for someone, invite them to dinner with you! Make sure they understand that you are picking up the tab as your gift to them, but the real gift will be the time you get to spend together.


My mother simply hates shopping for me. She also hates shopping with me. Ok, she hates shopping period. But she knows how much I love it! That's why it is such a wonderful gift to me when she takes me on a shopping spree for my birthday every year. If you had planned to buy a loved one something at the store, you can still give of your presence too. Invite your special someone to come pick it out with you. I still remember when I was younger, and a boyfriend took me shopping. He had me model the knit sweater for him before he bought it for me. The sweater is long gone and moth eaten but the memory is still knit tightly in my mind.


Clipping coupons is an excellent way to save money when shopping but they are also a great way to save money when gift giving. The home computer has made coupon books easy and professional looking. Trying to think creatively about what your loved one needs is the hardest part of making meaningful coupons. Would your husband love his own indoor tailgate party with a coupon for a night of uninterrupted football coverage complete with his favorite snacks and drinks? Or maybe your young teenage daughter needs a coupon book offering taxi rides anywhere her and her friends want to be chauffeured for the night? You get the idea. Be creative.


Whatever politically correct word you use, incentives for children to get good grades or allowance given to complete weekly chores or reach behavioral goals are generally money or present oriented. I would like to suggest that you substitute presence for presents in this situation too once in a while. My parents used to take me to a good movie when I got good grades at the end of each quarter, even if I would have preferred the cash like my friends got, it strengthened our relationship more than the money ever would have.

When I was potty training my oldest daughter, instead of giving her candy to reinforce her efforts, I would let her draw an activity from a jar. She knew that I would drop everything and give her my undivided attention and presence to read her a story, color with her, eat a Popsicle with her, etc. Now that this same daughter is 8 and she would much rather have me cater and entertain at her sleep over party, than to be given an allowance as appreciation for doing her chores!

If you truly believe that Time = Money, than give a gift worth it's wealth in gold.