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Ohio Department of Aging Boomerang: It all comes back to you!

Boomerang: It all comes back to you!

My Community - November 2009

The Best Gift You Can Give at the Holidays
What Has No Price and Grows in Value Only When You Give It Away?

The best gift you can give others this holiday season cannot be bought in a store or online. It doesn't come in a box and can't be wrapped. It can't be charged on a credit card or put on lay-away, and the most valuable receipt for it comes not when you acquire it, but when you give it. And, while it may be valuable to have, it is more valuable when you give it away.

The best gift you can give is the gift of yourself.

Often, we get so caught up in gift buying or attending parties and events that we forget to simply make ourselves available to others - even people we don't know and may never meet. For some recipients, your time, attention and effort are more valuable, and likely will be more appreciated, than any physical item you could give.

Make a commitment to be a participant, not just a spectator, this holiday season:

  • The best gift you can give is the gift of yourself.If you've never displayed Christmas lights outside your home, consider putting up just one strand. Though you may never see them, the smiles you will put on strangers' faces will be worth the small effort.
  • Attend local holiday bazaars. Show your support for the organization and the vendors, many of whom are people just like you, trying to brighten someone else's day with their time and talents. If you're so inclined and able, make something to sell yourself.
  • Go caroling. Find a local group or organize your own. The door-to-door or room-to-room sharing of cheer is becoming a lost art, but it's a good bet that five minutes of spontaneous caroling will leave a lasting impression with the recipients.
  • Look to churches and schools for holiday entertainment. While they often lack the polish and spectacle of a theater or arena production, your attendance or participation will likely mean more to the performers and organizers.
  • There are a broad array of holiday volunteer opportunities, from collecting toys, coats and gloves for the needy, to food drives and soup kitchens, to raising money for charities. Find one that suits your interests and give them an hour of your time.
  • Visit a nursing home or hospital, even if you don't know someone there. Just 15 to 20 minutes spent chatting with someone who gets few visitors can be more precious than the gift of gold and can pay as many dividends to you as it does him.

Whatever you choose to do, be safe. Don't visit others if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, particularly fever. By staying home and foregoing social activities, you give an additional gift to others: continued wellness. Also, call ahead to facilities you wish to visit to get their visitation policies.

You are a gift that has no price and immeasurable value, but only when shared with others.