Today’s Editorial December 14: Christmas about more than gifts

If the results of the online poll are any indication, many retailers are in for poor Christmas sales. Almost three-quarters of the more than 500 respondents said that this year’s Christmas spending would either be less than usual or nothing at all.

Certainly, the ailing economy should be expected to impact retail sales at Christmas. When people are having trouble paying the mortgage, putting food on the table and gasoline in the car, buying Christmas presents isn’t high on the priority list.

But there doesn’t have to be a lot of gift giving for it to be a good Christmas.

Last week, when addressing attendees of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman’s annual Christmas tree lighting event, Acting Governor Donovan Ebanks spoke of a possible silver lining in the current economic situation.

Mr. Ebanks said the hard times were forcing many people to re-examine some things in their life, like their values, their choices and even themselves. This kind of self-reflection enables people to re-focus on what is really important to them, he asserted.

Turning to gift giving, Mr. Ebanks asked people to forget the size of the gifts and to focus on being uplifted by the people with whom they usually share their lives.

Giving gifts at Christmastime is a wonderful gesture and helps remind us that it can really be better to give than to receive. But gifts do not necessarily have to cost a lot of money, and they don’t even have to be new items. Sometimes it’s the thoughtful gifts, or the ones that come with a certain amount of sacrifice other than money, that gratify both the giver and the receiver most.

It is in sharing – our possessions and ourselves – that the true Christmas spirit emerges.

In the end, Christmas memories are made not by gifts, but by experiences and creating memorable experiences does not require money. This Christmas, like any other, is the perfect time to create special holiday memories, not only for yourself, but for those around you.