This is one of our archive articles and was written before the current pandemic.
“Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time.
When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.
Relationships take time and effort, and the best way to spell love is “T-I-M-E.”
This quote by Rick Warren pretty much sums up in a few short lines exactly why the gift of your time is so valuable. This is why it doesn’t matter how much money is on the price tag of gifts you give at Christmas. Giving someone your time and attention at this time of year is a very precious and valuable gift.
Giving the gift of ‘you’
This subject reminds me of a popular story that really pulled on my heart-strings. Maybe you have heard this story too?
It is about a boy who asks his father how much money he makes per hour at work. His father is tired, stressed out and is angry to see him up so late when he gets home. He snaps at his son saying it is none of his business what he makes per hour. But his son keeps pressing him for an answer.
Grumpily, the father gives in and tells him he makes £50 per hour at work. His son then goes on to humbly ask if he can borrow £25 and in response, his father gets angry and gives a flat refusal.
Thinking the boy wants to spend money on a plastic toy of some sort, he scolds his son and sends him to bed telling him to think about why he was being so selfish.
Later on, when the father calms down he starts to regret his harsh words. Being as it was so close to Christmas, maybe his son wanted the money for something important, like a special Christmas gift?
He goes to his son’s room and asks if he is still awake. His son says yes, so his father takes out his wallet and hands the boy £25. The boy instantly jumps up, full of joy. Reaching under his pillow he pulls out a few banknotes and adds it to the money his father just gave him.
Confused, his father sees the boy already has some money and asks why he wanted more. The boy simply said: “Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do.”
He hands over the money which now totals £50 and asks his father, “Can I buy an hour of your time, please? I would love to eat dinner with you tomorrow night.”
The father starts to cry and hugs his son close to his chest.
Why time is the most precious Christmas gift you can give
Your time is the most precious gift you can give, especially at Christmas. Why? Because your life is made of time. Going back to the quote above, from Rick Warren, we can understand it is not enough to say a relationship is important – we need to prove it.
Yes, we may send out the obligatory Christmas cards with ‘warm wishes’ each year to everyone on our Christmas card list, but words alone can mean little. The best way to show you love and care for someone is to give them some of your time and attention.
Let’s make it clear here. We are not just talking about your time per se, it is also very important to give a person your full attention. We all need to feel accepted and loved, so by giving someone your time and attention you will be showing your love, care and respect for them.
Never take time for granted
We all lead such busy lives these days that sometimes, we don’t realise time is slipping by. It can be easier to appreciate how much time has passed at a time when someone close is about to celebrate something special, such as a milestone birthday.
It can take special events marked by the passage of time to make us realise we will not always have that special person or people around. It could be your parents, a sibling or an old friend of many years that you may have become distant from in recent years.
Instead of sending cards and gifts, think about giving the gift of experiences. To share some time together over a birthday lunch, or a day by the seaside walking barefoot together through the chilly sand on the beach, laughing and having a heart to heart talk.
These precious memories will last longer than anything you can buy off the shelf in a gift shop.
The many benefits of giving your time this Christmas
Your gift of time this Christmas is priceless. You will have no idea how valuable your gift of time will be to your friend or loved one. You will be making them feel heard, appreciated and you will be sharing in their current joys or pains.
Simply by being there for someone at this time of year can make a difference! Your kindness and attention can give a person more than one gift. For example, your company can help bring:
- A boost to their happiness
- A boost to their well-being
- A stronger immune system
- A reduction in stress levels
- Reduced anxiety
- More confidence to tackle and resolve issues
All these positive outcomes from a gift of time that has cost you nothing in financial terms, but can mean the world to the person and people you decide to give to.
The positive outcomes of gifting time for you!
Giving your time at Christmas is a gift that keeps on giving, no only for your gift recipient but also for you as the gift giver!
According to a 2017 research experiment, gifting your time is an act of kindness that is not only a generous and thoughtful gift for a friend or loved one, but it can also have a positive effect on you.
When you perform an act of kindness by giving the gift of your time and attention, this type of altruistic kindness activates the ventromedial prefrontal cortex of your brain. Or, in other words, your good deed will help cultivate kindness-pathways in your brain.
This means you can gain a more positive attitude towards your life and the people in it. You will naturally become more mindful and in doing so, will project your kindness and positive thoughts towards yourself and others around you – basically making you a nicer person all around!
If you can make a habit out of giving a gift of your time at Christmas and continue to share your time and attention, your ‘kindness’ muscles will continue to grow stronger. Soon enough it will become effortless and you can draw a strong sense of warmth and comfort from your actions, almost as if you are standing in a warm bath of sunshine!
So, think of the people around you and get giving a gift of your time this Christmas. It is the gift you cannot buy with money but is worth far more than you could ever afford, no matter how wealthy you are.