Please don’t measure my love for you based on the presents I give you; this year, I can provide none.
Your worth can’t possibly be measured by shiny new toys, packages or bows.
If my love could be measured by something tangible, it would be the world—oh, I wish I could give you the world.
I wish I could give you the encouragement of the sun, rays pulling a blush from your face.
I wish I could give you trees that leave your fingers sappy and fragrant with the smell of “home.”
I wish I could give you the relief the wind offers on a hot, humid day.
I wish I could give you the ability to be content, day after day. The ability to wake up relaxed, at ease.
How does a new iPhone convey that I care? How do bracelets, necklaces or clothes shout, You’re one of my favorite human beings?
Holidays—warped, contorted like this one—make my soul shatter.
Illusions of lights, glitter, happiness and gifts. The recipe for happiness it seems, for love.
My boyfriend awoke to my slobbery sobs in the middle of night this week.
Maybe it was a nightmare, but I was overwhelmed by a deep fear that my family and friends would think I didn’t love them, because of my complete inability to purchase them beautiful things. My bank account forbade it.
I felt so helpless, belittled, worthless that I couldn’t provide them the gifts I wished I could give.
He listened patiently.
I value his advice, because if someone I loved was hanging onto my sweater with desperation, for hope, I would offer the same words of comfort, the same truth.
It could always be worse, he offered.
We could be wondering how to get our next meal. We could worry about where to get fresh water. But we don’t go to bed hungry, we don’t go to bed alone.
We are rich in love.
We are rich in something that people look their whole lives to find. We have someone to hold when our nightmares seep into our consciousness, startle our wakened minds.
Your family knows that you love them. Your friends know.
Your family are the ones that understand. They are the first to forgive you, and they will forgive you every time.
Your family loves you. That makes you so rich.
You’re rich in that you have friends, family for whom you want to display your love.
But, you don’t need to portray your love for them through things.
He was right.
The next moment, my heart broke, not for my predicament, but for the countless souls that fall into the same helplessness.
My heart ached for all the beautiful people who want to show their loved ones how special they are on Christmas, to bring happiness to the ones they love, to invoke a smile, but struggle to do so.
How many people cry themselves to sleep this time of year at their inability to purchase things, gifts?
When did this essence become a vital part of the season?
I walked down the card aisle the other day in search of a happy message to send my family, but was disheartened by what I witnessed: “gift card holder,” “money holder,” read many cards, as if messages of love aren’t enough.
We’ve grown to expect money, things, sweaters, DVDs, stupid pieces of plastic we end up throwing away.
I miss my family this year, but I’ll miss my sister being annoyingly chipper in the early morning,
I’ll miss my Mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls and my siblings and I fighting for the biggest pieces.
I’ll miss sitting by the fire, watching Christmas movies I could quote with my eyes closed.
I’ll miss talking about nothing at all, laughing at jokes from being young.
I’ll miss fighting at least once about something vaguely intellectual or engaging in a massive argument about the potential danger affects of deodorant.
I never remember the gifts—just the little moments of love.
I wrote cards instead of gifts this year; letters of love. I can’t show it through any items, nor gifts this year, but I can show it through my words, it seems—the only currency that I have any assets in.
Maybe that won’t be enough, but it’s something; you see, what makes Christmas, for me, are the little moments.
The memories of feeling safe, of feeling loved.
The most valuable currency is the ability to create a memory like this with someone you love, to make someone feel like the most important person in the world.
For those who fall in the same fear that I did this season: You are enough. Your love is enough.
Your presence is the greatest gift of all. Provide it.
The people we love are the greatest gifts we can receive; they, truly, are what make us rich.
Enjoy what makes you rich this Christmas.
Author: Elizabeth Brumfield
Editor: Toby Israel