Often, the best gifts we receive don't arrive with beautiful shiny paper and elaborate, colorful bows. For example, last Friday, several students left me little hand made cards on my desk. Like usual, they proclaimed me "the best teacher ever", which is so sweet and never gets old. Never mind the fact that last year's teacher and next year's teacher will also be "the best teacher ever"; I always feel special when receiving those cards. If I can be that "best teacher ever" to a child, for even a few months, I'll take it.
A few years ago, I began saving the personalized notes & cards from students. I keep them in a special place and whenever I'm feeling a little blue, I look at them and they give me a boost and make me smile. They are gifts I open again and again.
Although under my tree, there were bright packages with pretty bows, the best present I received this Christmas was having my daughter home for a few days. She lives in Chicago now and I don't get to see her as much as when she lived closer and was in college.
Over the past few weeks, I've had time to spend with family and friends, always a gift and sometimes taken for granted.
I've cooked and baked and celebrated and relaxed. It's a gift to have the time to do what you like to do.
I've given myself the gift of being more positive this year. No wrapping paper or ribbon could measure up to this gift.
After all, in the end, it's not the present from the store or the pretty package under the tree that makes us happy. It's the many gifts that are around us every day, waiting to be opened.