The Gift of Being Present

Gracey Blue Star Christmas

The holiday preparation frenzy is winding down as Christmas Eve and Hanukkah are celebrated today.  By this time you might have your presents wrapped, foods prepared, and your family and friends gathering. Paul has placed pretty holiday lights around our home on the outside.

back deck with christmas lights

We decorated our mantel with cat-safe trees and small LED lights. We used museum wax to hold the trees and polar bear in place while little paws bat at them.  So far, so good.

Christmas mantel trees

We placed small reminders to look for the Joy of the season.

Joy with Poinsettia

Sometimes it is hard to remember the joy of the season, especially when you are missing a loved one.  This is our first Christmas without Paul’s mom and we are trying to hold onto the best of the season and let the sadness occupy as much of our hearts as necessary to navigate the grieving process.

Mercy in the holiday spirit

Give the Gift of Being Present

Gift-giving is also an important part of the holiday season because the gifts are meant to show our love and appreciation to those who share our lives. Sometimes the reason for gift-giving gets lost in the busy season and shopping for gifts can add more stress and worry than the joy intended.

This holiday, let’s give the gift of being present. With technology being both a convenience and a distraction, I bet each of us has been visiting with a friend or family member when they keep looking at their phone or other screen. Sometimes it hurts a little bit doesn’t it, even if we understand and quite possibly do the same to others.

The Gift of Undivided Attention

Let’s give the gift of our undivided attention. When a family or friend talks to us, lean forward a little. Maintain eye contact to show you are interested. Turn off those notifications. They can wait, can’t they?  Turn off the television or mute the sound. If you are on the telephone, do the same. Truly listen. Ask questions and listen to all the answers. Pitch in and help do dishes, clean up or fill bird feeders.  Sometimes the best conversations are those that take place while doing small chores.

Let Go and Enjoy the Season

Let go and enjoy the season as time slows down just for a brief period of time.  Years from now you might not remember a gift you were given but you might remember the time you spent with a loved one.

For me, I remember a Christmas many years ago now.  I came home to my parents house after an exhausting holiday season and curled up on the floor by the front door closet. The living room was full with my family, presents, and our dogs of course!  The tree was shining and the smell of holiday food hugged the air.  I remember leaning  back and taking it all in.  The laughter, the smiles, the warmth, the love.

My mother came over and said are you alright there?  I said, I am.  I am happy.  And this made her smile.  I don’t remember any gifts from that year but I do remember her smile.

Annie in front of fire

Spend time with your kitties too.  Take extra time to snuggle. Pick them up and tell them how much joy they bring to your life.

We wish you peace this holiday season and thank you for being a part of The Tiniest Tiger community.


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  1. Beautiful and moving post that emphasizes what is really important, now and always, whether we have holidays now or not. Thank you for it, and for bringing me some cherished memories of my own. Happy holidays to you and your loved ones — those present, and those watching over you.

  2. Dana Rodriguez says:

    Gorgeous photos! Merry Christmas Joanne!

  3. The best gifts at Christmas are those of camaraderie.

  4. Everything you’ve said rings so true. Time is one of the best gifts we can give one another, like you said, really paying attention instead of getting distracted by screens. I’m sending lots of love to you, Paul, Eddie, Annie, and Mercy!

  5. A lovely post – beautiful photos (your home is so festive and calming) and such a beautiful timely sentiment. You write so well my friend and your messages are spot on…I am missing my Petie this season but cannot imagine what you and Paul are feeling with the loss of his Mom. My thoughts are with you and thank you for the reminder – I will be sharing this post xoxo

    • Thank you for your kind words, Tamar. I thought of you while writing this morning. It is so hard. Losing a loved one is difficult no matter the species. Wishing you a Merry Christmas.

  6. Beautiful post. Merry Christmas.
    Sue B


  1. […] I’d like to leave you with a link to a post from my friend blogger Joanne McGonagle of The Tiniest Tiger about the most important gift we can give to ourselves and our loved ones this holiday season (one I need to work on) –  The Gift of Being Present. […]