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The only true gift is a portion of thyself. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Each Christmas, I worry about buying the right presents for my children. Not only does there need to be an equal number of presents for each child at approximately the same dollar value, there’s the “do I buy a totally impractical and overpriced gift simply because my son or daughter wants it more than anything?” Oh – and then the presents have to be wrapped.

On the stockings of the annual Christmas angst, comes the analysis.

Why do I become overwhelmed by gift-giving?

Is my distress symptomatic of something greater than the season's “too much to do, too little time”?

Am I afraid that there won't be enough presents for my children? Or is there a more deep-seated fear, that I, as a mother, won’t be enough?

IS there a good enough gift?

Said Emerson, Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only true gift is a portion of….

Your self.

If, in fact, this is true, and I believe it is, as this Christmas comes and goes, I am going to predict that my six year-old and I will remember one particular gift.

In early December, our daughter exuberantly and joyfully encouraged us to put up the Christmas tree, decorate the house, and then to take her out to buy Christmas presents for each member of the family. As her gift of self became a wellspring of enough, out of my mouth came a gift that, in turn, was uniquely mine to give: a compliment bestowed upon a daughter by her mother. Which was, Miranda – thank you for bringing the spirit of Christmas into our home.

A simple, heartfelt compliment, reminded my daughter that she is enough. And, because of the wonderful alchemy that comes when a gift of self is given and then received, I knew that I too am enough.

What portion of your self will you give this Christmas?

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