Ah yes, Black Friday cometh. But before we join the stampede to grab the latest gadgets and gizmos, there’s something I’d like to share with you – a little twist on our conventionally held notions of gift-giving.

So many of us get caught up in the “spirit” of the holidays. We peruse the door-buster ads in advance, rank the priorities, and map out the most efficient course to hit all the best sales. We have lists and more lists of whom to buy for, what to buy, and how much to spend. It’s the world’s largest scavenger hunt. For many, it’s become a seasonal tradition, cherished as much (if not more than) our Thanksgiving feast a day earlier, and I actually think that’s fine.

We’ll spend the coming month shopping, singing, baking, and decorating. We’ll attend a never-ending stream of school plays and holiday parties, planning and coordinating and burning every ounce of energy we’ve got until at last, Christmas Day arrives. Gifts are presented, packages ripped open with elation, and thank-yous exchanged. Another meal, a glass of wine, and then?

We need to follow through.

Huh?

We need to follow through on the gifts that we give. You see, the value of a gift is not in its price, but rather in its worth. And what makes a gift worth giving is the follow-through. I’ll give a couple of examples . . . If you give a kid a football, make the time to play catch. If you’re giving the Monopoly game, follow through by taking the time to play along. If you present your wife with some beautiful new jewelry, plan a night out where she can actually wear it. The gift isn’t the “thing,” the gift is you. Am I making sense here?

Without the follow-through, gifts quickly lose their value. Sometimes, a gift without the follow-through is worse than no gift at all.  We give anticipation, and set our loved ones up for a big let-down. In the end, nobody feels good about the gift. I’ve been guilty of this in the past. In fact, I’m a repeat offender.

It’s taken me 40-something years to figure this out, and with any luck I can make up for some lost ground, starting now. Here’s wishing everyone a wonderful season of giving. Cheers!

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