“Words for Christmas,” Dec. 3, 2018

I’ve been thinking a lot about Christmas. I haven’t decorated a tree or even looked for the boxes of ornaments that we packed when we moved six months ago and haven’t seen since.

My husband stuck a reindeer nose on the statue of a horse on the buffet in our dining room, but that’s his doing, not mine.

I haven’t started baking or shopping or wrapping or planning or doing any of the things I usually try to do each year when the Christmas clock starts ticking in my sleep. But I am definitely thinking about it. Maybe you are, too?

Mostly I’ve been thinking about words. I started with a mental list of words we often hear around Christmas time: Love, joy, peace, Jesus, star, angel, manger, sheep, snow, tree, pageant, Santa, Scrooge, snickerdoodles, gifts ….

The list was long. I tried to picture each word as I thought of it, in no special order, along with the memories and stories and people it brought to mind.

It was fun. Try it. You never know what you’ll find in the back rooms of your mind.

Then I started thinking about words I’d like to give as gifts.

Words make wonderful gifts, as long as they are the right words, chosen carefully from the heart, and given to someone who’ll be happy to hear them.

Think about it. Words are easy to wrap. Always in stock. And they cost only the time and thought and courage it takes to write, or better yet, to say them.

It’s especially nice, though not always necessary, to include them as part of another, more tangible gift for, say, a 7 year old who might appreciate, along with your kind words, a Lego set or a Barbie camper or a remote controlled killer robot.

I’m just saying. When giving a gift for any reason, it’s always wise to consider both the age and wish list of the giftee.

Here are some of the words that I think would make great gifts for people on my gift list, and maybe for yours, too. Each sentence could be used alone or expanded, if you like, for a longer message:

1. I am sorry. (Who doesn’t need to apologize for something?)

2. I see you clearly and love you dearly, exactly as you are. (Who doesn’t need to hear that?)

3. I’m thankful you’re in my life. 

4. You make me laugh.

5. You make me crazy.

6. You make me get up off my comfort zone and dance.

7. You make me a better person.

8. You remind me I’m not alone.  

9. When I see myself in your eyes, I think, who is that woman who looks like me, only she’s thinner and better looking and a whole lot better dressed?

10. I’m so proud of you.

11. I need you — sometimes for how you help me, sometimes for how you set me straight, and always for who you are to me.

12. I will help you any way I can; please tell me how and when.

13. I remember all the times we’ve shared, especially the time we … (fill in your own story.)

14. I count on you to be there for me and hope you’ll always count on me to be there for you.

15. You are unforgettable, and I will never, ever, in this life or the next, forget you and how much you mean to me.

Feel free to give any of the words on that list to your friends and loved ones this Christmas — or any time.

But bear in mind, they’re only suggestions. Think long and hard about the person you plan to give them to. Then put your thoughts and feelings into your own words. The best gifts always come from the heart of someone who loves you.

Tomorrow, or the next day, I’ll start decorating and baking and shopping and wrapping … and hiding that tacky reindeer nose so my husband can’t find it.

But today, I’m thinking about word gifts. Here are two more, just for you: Merry Christmas!



  1. Vicki Constable says

    Sharon, your gentle wisdom is becoming one of our family traditions. Last year we kept small notebooks of gratitude between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year the challenge is to give words! Thank you for reminding so many of us to cling to what matters.

  2. Kate Sciacca says

    A Blessed, happy and holy Christmas to you and your dear family. I’ve got the house all decorated- except for the tree – and I’m tripping over the all wrapped and ready to go gifts in my bedroom. Granny’s sleigh heads over the hill on Sunday, I can’t wait 🙂

  3. Fred Hernandez says

    I love Chicken Legs.

  4. Elaine Mccaffery says

    How great ; yet again your column always touches my heart. Right now in this time of my life all those pertain to me. I hope and wish for you a very Merry Christmas with all your loved ones and Happy New Year too.

  5. Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family. I look forward to each of your columns and appreciate you sharing all the wonderful happenings in your life.

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