The holiday season is almost here! For some, it is just added stress. For me, it is a time to spend with close family and friends and tell them exactly what they mean to me. 

For the past few Christmases, I got caught up in the materialism of the holiday. I spent hours out in the town shopping and searching for the perfect gift for all the perfect people in my life. On my nieces alone, I spent days shopping going from toy store to toy store looking for the best, newest edition to their already huge toy collection. 

I'll never forget the look on their face after they've opened the gifts. Not immediately after they've opened the gifts I've given them, but the moment after they've opened every gift they've received. Next to a Christmas tree, two small toddlers are buried under barbies, dolls, Christmas ribbon, clothes, legos, wrapping paper, and toys. They're overwhelmed with excitement as they try and decide what to play with first.

After taking it all in, my niece opened up a new barbie, looked up at me, and said, "Will you play with me Tee tee?" I didn't want to. I wanted to help my mom with the food. I wanted to pack up my gifts and take them to my car. However, I did it. At twenty, I  crouched down, grabbed the barbie and began to play. 

At two and three, they didn't know who bought them what. Down the road, they probably won't even remember what they found under the tree. But they will remember who played with them. They will remember who danced with them to Christmas tunes. They will remember who sat down with them and watched Rudolph for the thirteenth time. They won't forget that.

And neither will I.

This holiday give more than gifts. Give your time to someone. Whether it be a three year old relative or a ninety-three year old stranger, give them something more valuable than what sits on display at a store. Give them your time, your love, and grant them your ears. Whether they need a friend or a playmate, remember the real reason for the season. Put the things you'd rather be doing aside and be there. They won't forget it and neither will you.