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John recommends a gift that all are sure to love.

At a packed Great Clips last week, I was reminded that sometimes it’s the seemingly insignificant conversations and simple questions that remind us to recognize what matters most.

With the holidays nearing and not being able to make eye contact with my boys due to hair covering their eyes, it was time to load up the car and get these teenaged boys a haircut. As little boys they hated going because of how discarded hairs itched their backs afterward. As they’ve aged, they just don’t like going because they like longer hair. Thanks, Covid.

Despite their slumped shoulders as they entered and soft-spokenness as she worked, the stylist could not have been sweeter to my boys. In thanking her afterwards for how she made them look and how kind she was to them, she asked a seemingly simple question: Are you ready for Christmas?

Now, I don’t think she was actually curious if my house was cleaned, the tree was up or the dinner rolls ordered. I don’t think she was truly interested if my suit was ironed, shoes polished or if the last several weeks of Advent had prepared my heart for the final two weeks before Christmas. More simply, she was just curious if the shopping for presents had been successfully completed.

Whether in salons or stores or at office parties, we’ve all likely been asked if we’re ready for the holidays many times over the past several weeks. Although the question is both common and kind, perhaps a better question to ask ourselves is: What is a truly worthwhile gift this holiday season for those we love?

A partial glance at my kids’ lists includes items like Lego sets and wooden bats, tennis shoes and winter jackets, ping-pong balls and lacrosse sticks, candy bars and gift cards.

So, which of those presents will be the most loved? Which will make their day most special? Which would be meaningful enough not only as they unwrap it in the morning or play with it in the afternoon, but to actually remain moved by it long after the discarded wrapping paper is picked up?

For the past six years I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing remarkable people from all over the world on our Live Inspired Podcast. One of my favorite questions asked of more than 500 individuals takes place near the end of the conversation. As part of a series of seven questions I always ask, “If your home caught fire, and all living things were out, and you had an opportunity to run in and grab one item, what would you grab?” In other words, from all the gifts you’ve ever received, all the things that fill your house, what matters most to you?

The super practical guests might grab their wallet or laptop or phone or insurance papers. The travelers might grab a passport or a suitcase. One guest grabbed a bag of marshmallows. But the most common response is a meaningful object gifted by a loved one, a picture taken that holds deep importance, or a special note written from a dear friend.

So how does that help get us ready for holidays this year?

My friends, with one week before Christmas, consider staying home. Keep the jacket hanging in the closet and the credit card holstered in the wallet. Let others fight the traffic jams on the roadways, parking lots and checkout aisles.

Slow down. Save the money. And give a gift that matters.

Provide the gift of expressing your love in words. Give a grandchild or partner or child or friend the reminder that you love them, that you are grateful for them and that your world is far better because of them. Share with them what this season means to you. And tell them all that they mean to you.

I promise they won’t return it and assure you they’ll be grateful for it always.

Because while advertisers strive to get you into their stores, be reminded that the most valuable gifts in life can’t be bought and are always freely given. Perhaps that’s what we’re really celebrating during the Christmas season anyway.

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

10 replies on “Are You Ready for Christmas?”

Thank you John for knowing the true meaning of Christmas and sharing this with all your followers. God gave you this incredible gift!! Merry Christmas to you and your Family!!

WOW Thanks!! . We made the decision to make no fuss over presents this year. Our only daughter has just returned from living abroad. Living back home. And no job at the present. My husband and I after 36 years have no needs. We are blessed to live our needs year round. So a very peaceful relief, I will not be out shopping for gifts that no one wants or can afford. But we will spend time with one another as Family.!! Merry Christmas O’Leary family!!

Merry Christmas!! Your boys are so grown up – thank you always for the inspiration you provide to all!! wow in the past few weeks, I cannot even count how many times I have said that very phrase, “are you ready for Christmas?” And by the very question, I too like they stylist mean are all your gifts purchased. Not sure if I am bold enough yet to say is your heart ready for Christmas? – though I am going to approach in a different way because of your message something along the lines of, “may you find joy and peace this Christmas!.” Thank you.

John, your message is priceless. As I’m contemplating my message on Christmas Day, I believe your blog was meant just for me. In fact, that question—Are you ready for Christmas? may just be the title of my sermon. I had been thinking about the gifts of Christmas thst we often miss because we (me) get so caught up in the commercialism. Yet, the truth of Christmas is simplicity. Like the Little Drummer Boy. You never disappoint. I’m still hoping to get you to Unity in Kansas City one of these days. Blessings to you and your family this Season if light and love!

Yes. Giving of our time and love is the most precious gift. When reminiscing it’s always harder for one to recall what gifts were received in the past, but will always remember special moments shared with our loved ones. Thank you for sharing.

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