December 23, 2019

The Best Gifts Never Come Wrapped

My daughter, Kyra, and I recently traveled by car then train to spend a day together in New York City.  (It's sort of a tough place to bring your RV.)  With her six-days-a-week work schedule, we don’t get to enjoy adventures like this on a regular basis.  We did a bit of shopping, a bit of sightseeing, a bit of eating and a whole lot of walking and talking.  The photos in this post were taken with Kyra’s phone and a small point-and-shoot camera that would fit in my pocket because I didn’t want to lug my good camera around with me all day.  Big mistake.  The photos from Kyra’s phone were fine but the ones from my camera, well, not so much.  So, please overlook the horrible photos.  While many of them leave a lot to be desired, the adventure itself was excellent - New York City is a glorious destination during the holidays, especially when you share the adventure with someone you love.

When I began thinking that I wanted to extend greetings of the season to you, for some reason my mind wandered around to the gifts of the season.  And then it just sat there, contemplating.  We celebrate Christmas at our house and, yes, gifts are exchanged.  Many come in boxes with holiday paper and bows.  Some are experiences or gift cards that represent future experiences.  All are thoughtfully given and graciously received.  But what about the gifts that never come wrapped?

Radio City Music Hall - home of the world famous Rockettes

Alan and I have always told Ryan and Kyra that Santa represents the spirit of the season which is loving and giving.  No matter what holiday we celebrate at this time of year, gifts are often a part of those celebrations.  Certainly, there are many who believe that the birth of Christ is the greatest gift of all and, in fact, the reason for the season.

"The Vessel"

Do we all make an effort to use and appreciate the gifts we’ve been given?  Not the lovely piece of jewelry or latest piece of technology we found under the tree, but the love of someone special that those gifts represent?

Cartier Jewelers

Do we truly appreciate the fact that we rolled out of bed today without a second thought?  Do we notice that the aroma of coffee brewing brings with it a delicious sense of anticipation?  Do we complain about walking to the mailbox in the cold (or heat!) without a moment of gratitude for the mobility that allows us the pleasure of that chore?  Do we truly feel the warmth of the sun, breathe deeply of the mountain or ocean air, and really taste the sweet efforts of a local farmer when we grab an apple on our way out the door?  When our child or grandchild hands us a gift, are we looking at the gift or at the love and excitement in his or her eyes?

Kyra at "The Vessel"

Every day we are gifted with treasures large and small.  Some of us are blessed with good health, artistic skills, a dozen grandchildren or many friends.  Others have an innate sense of compassion, kindness or empathy.  Some of us will see an eagle fly overhead, witness a storm rolling across the desert or have our hearts warmed by the wagging tail of a devoted canine friend.

The High Line - a linear park developed along an elevated train track that's no longer used

We’ve been gifted with life and family and friends - and with the precious commodity of time to spend with them.  Let’s not forget love and faith and hope, plus true joy and, of course, laughter.  That’s one of my favorites and, I trust, you can easily list yours. 
Enjoying the adventure

During this holiday season and on through the New Year, may you all savor your gifts and enjoy them gratefully.  And I don’t mean the ones wrapped in pretty paper under your Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas to all - and to Claus a safe flight!


  1. Well, pardon the departure from my usual loquacity, but just let me say, "Ditto!" The brevity of my response is your punishment (gift?) for reminding me of all the things I tend to take for granted. Merry Christmas to all!

    1. Mike, I think it's easy to get caught up in the busyness of life, especially during the holiday season with so many extra tasks and events added to our regular schedules. That's when I find a slice of gratitude pie to be extra tasty - and humbling. Best wishes to you and Sandy for a new year full of delightful and memorable adventures!

  2. Mother-daughter trips are the best. Looks and sounds like a wonderful trip. Love your message … so true. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and an adventurous New Year! ����

    1. Thank you, Ingrid, and right back atcha! I planted the seed for a Michigan road trip in the back of Alan's mind. So who knows? Maybe 2020 will be the year. Hope you and Al enjoy a warm and delightful winter in the southwest!

  3. Mary,
    Just wanted to send you a note on Christmas morning to wish you and yours the Merriest Christmas ever. Looking forward to 2020 and more Reflections Around the Campfire. Have a blessed New Year. Joe

    1. Sending those warm wishes right back to you and Helen, Joe. Thanks for sharing your Christmas morning with us! If your 2020 travels bring you up to our little corner of the northeast, I trust that you'll let us know. Merry Christmas!


Comments are encouraged and appreciated, so please do join the conversation!