The Gift of Time


If your child is like mine, then she likely got more plastic junk… I mean, Christmas presents… than she knows what to do with.

My kid hit her meltdown point shortly after lunch, which, if memory serves me right, is a few hours later than last year.

At least she made it through breakfast.

Christmas morning can lead to sensory overload for many young children… and their tired parents too.

But when all is said and done, and the gifts have been opened and the paper gets pitched, I will bet you anything that the present your child appreciates the most is… your presence.

Despite getting a mountain of toys, toys and more toys; big ones, small ones, battery-powered walking, talking, flipping, and gas-passing toys, by the end of the morning all my kid wanted to do was crawl on my lap and listen to a story.

Only, she didn’t want me to finish reading Llama Llama Holiday Drama, or dig into one of the five new books Santa brought. Rather, my little girl wanted me to retell the story of my brother sneaking out of the house when he was five years old. He made his way to a busy street where a stranger found him and returned him home to my stunned mother who thought he was in his bed napping. True story.

She’s heard the tale a million times, but begged me to tell it to her yet again while she sat balled up on my lap.

When she was done cuddling I put her down thinking she’d rush off to rearrange the furniture in her new Barbie condo, but instead, she asked me if we could bake a new batch of Christmas cookies-—just the two of us.

Frankly, the last thing I wanted to do after cleaning up the lunch dishes was to bake a bunch of cookies, but I gave in after sitting through a chorus of “please, please, PLEASE!”

During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season don’t rely on plastic to placate your children. Instead, take some time to give them the gift of your undivided attention. It’s cheap, easy and will mean more to them than any present found under the tree.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.