Countdown to the Holidays

When the calendar turns from November 30 to December 1, there’s always a quickening in my heart as I look forward to the holiday season. The gathering with family and friends. The good meals. The cookies. More cookies. Presents. I love giving them as much as receiving them.

As Kate, the main character in my Christmas short story The Last Dollar says, “The greatest gift,” she often told them (her children). “Is the gift of giving .”

This year my “giving” will be a little different, and part of me wishes it didn’t have to be that way. Well, actually, a big part of me wishes that. For the first time in ages, I’ll be sending more gift cards than actual presents. And that just doesn’t have the same excitement as finding that perfect something for each person on my list, wrapping it and sending it off.

The main reason for the change: The price of shipping.

Recently, I sent a small, rather flat package in a manila envelope to my sister in Michigan, and the charge was over $6. When the postal clerk told me the total, my reaction was, “What!? For real.”

He just gave me a sorta sad smile and replied that yes, that was what it would cost. The reason it didn’t go as an oversized letter, was there were some cards inside that made the envelope not lie completely flat. Therefore, it became a package, to be shipped at that higher rate.

I did have the option of taking the cards out, but they were ones I knew my sister would like. Holiday cards to be sent to others. I have a plethora of cards and wanted to share with her.

Anyway, I bit the bullet, paid the charge and left.

That’s when I decided that I’d rather send more money to a family member, than pay it to the post office. Last year, the cost of shipping boxes was steep and made me cringe, but not as much as this year.

The second reason for a change in my holiday gift-giving is the fact that this old body of mine doesn’t get around as easily as it used to. Shopping is harder, and it’s time for me to just accept my limitations.

And while this year’s gift-giving won’t satisfy my heart in quite the same way as years past, everyone in my family will be just fine with it. There have never been attitudes of great expectations or tit-for-tat, so no worries there.

Has the cost of shipping impacted your plans to send packages to out-of-town family and friends?


A friend sent me the following little stories that have such thoughtful, simple messages. Enjoy…

Six little stories with lots of meanings.

One: Once all the people is a small village decided to pray for rain. On the day of prayer, the villagers gathered, but only one boy came with an umbrella. That is faith.

Two: When you throw babies in the air, they laugh because they know you will catch them. That is trust.

Three: Every night we go to bed without any assurance of being alive the next morning, but still we set the alarm to wake up. That is Hope.

Four: We plan big things for tomorrow in spite of zero knowledge of the future. That is confidence.

Five: We see the world suffering, but still, we get married and have children. That is love.

Six: On an old man’s shirt was written a sentence, “I am not 80 years old. I am sweet 16 with 64 years of experience.” That is attitude.

Definitely something to think about in those stories.

That’s all from me for today folks. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and lots of fun with family and friends. Be safe. Be happy.

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