Unwrapping the gifts

It’s the season of buying and baking, decorating and dashing. Piped-in Christmas tunes fill the speakers and tinsel-clad trees illuminate every store. Cars zip through parking lots. We zip through the daylight hours and fill the nights with parties.

As the days leading up to Christmas get closer, our to-dos get more urgent. Our joy is trampled in the toy store somewhere between Lego City and Barbie’s Dreamhouse. Later, the presents we’ve purchased are unwrapped in a blink, and the meals we’ve prepared are eaten on the quick.

I think it’s high time we linger.

It’s time to enjoy the common gifts we are given every day. Ones that can’t be tied with a bow. Presents that can’t be broken. Here are a few true gifts that bring me joy this Christmas season.

• A parking spot close to the entrance.
• An early-morning Louisiana sunrise that saturates the sky with gold, orange and pink.
• Homemade fig preserves spread thick across a biscuit.
• “One-two-three-four, I declare a thumb war.”
• Forgiveness in its rawest form, when grace is granted not deserved.
• Early-morning snuggles. Late-night prayers.
• Mall Santa
• A serious game of washers that includes a tournament grid written on poster board with a Sharpie.
• A mailbox full of Christmas cards.
• Store-bought sugar cookies with thick neon icing.
• A live Nativity with a real baby as Jesus.
• Winter boots on sale.
• Cold noses, chapped lips lathered in Vaseline.
• Steam rising off a deep bowl of gumbo.
• School uniforms warming by the fire.
• A good bottle of wine.
• White lights in trees at night.
• An old dog sleeping in the sun.
• S’mores, with the marshmallows roasting on straightened wire hangers.
• Belly-deep laughter.
• Tears of remembrance.
• The trinity: Spanx, heels and lipstick.
• A carefully-wrapped package.
• Nicknames in the family.
• Black-and-white photographs, new and old.
• Handwritten place cards.
• Making gingerbread houses, eating the roof.
• “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by the band Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan.
• Movie night at home with hot chocolate.
• A humidifier for easing a cough.
• Bright colored scarves and gloves.
• Cranking it up to 11 and dancing in the living room.
• Remembering your place.
• Remembering the needs of others.
• Remember that it’s all truly a gift. Every moment of every day.

Slow down. Open up. And receive. During this Christmas season and throughout the year, we are gifted. Remember to unwrap the joy.

What is something simple that brings you joy? Let us know in the comments below.