Christmas Gifts – the thought that counts

Makin’ Your Lists:
Checkin’ ’em TWICE?

When are we going to learn
to start even EARLIER?!

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Christmas Memories

Do you recall the gifts you received through the years?  I don’t.  Not really.

Oh, I can think of a few really special presents, but mostly they all dissolve into a blur of crumpled wrapping paper, bows and snips of ribbon — all over the floor.

I more clearly remember tearing into oversized felt stockings on Christmas morning, hand-crafted by my mother for each member of our family of seven, our names embroidered in sparkles on the cuffs.

Each of us were delighted with mere trinkets, chocolate treats, and the tangerine always stuffed into the toe.

She attached a string of jingle bells to each hanging loop to let everyone know that someone was getting into a stocking!

You see, what I remember most vividly are the memories of those Christmas times – and they are really all that remain from the Christmases of most of my life:

  • finally digging out the ornaments, untangling the lights and trimming the tree
  • snow-crusted mittens and red noses from sledding on glorious snow days (when the schools were closed!)
  • wrapping presents purchased “with my own money”
  • eggnog and my mother reading Christmas stories
  • buttered popcorn and hot chocolate as we watched classic Christmas films in front of an old-style television set
  • Helping to prepare Christmas dinners – even some of the conversations around those Christmas tables through the year.

What do YOU recall loving most?

A different kind of Christmas

When I was a kid, a family down the street gave NO presents that could be unwrapped.  I was never sure whether to feel sorry for my friend or be jealous of her wonderful Christmases, year after year — but now that I am much older, there is no doubt in my mind which of us got the better deal.

On Valentine’s Day, the relatives gathered to begin planning for the upcoming Christmas adventure.  The merits of everyone’s suggestion were explored as the months rolled by, even the suggestions from a few of the children that they stay home and exchange presents.

I got the excitement of Christmas for a scant few December Days.
She got the excitement of Christmas for ten solid months!!

Instead of stuff, her entire extended family gifted themselves the memories of amazing holiday experiences:

  • ski trips and skiing lessons on rented skis
  • visits to towns around America and Canada with unusual Christmas celebrations or decorations
  • mountain chalets where each member of the family gave gifts of time and spirit to each other as they popped corn in the fireplace to string on a tree they chopped down themselves and bedecked with pine cones and paper ornaments made by all of the children.
  • Candlelit services at midnight.

One year they went to Disneyland and another to Disney World.
And for one amazing trip they traveled all the way to Vienna!

On their return, the children put together their yearly scrapbooks as the adults prepared a family slideshow. Every New Years Eve they gathered in one home or another for an all-night feast and slumber party, as they shared the memories of each and every preceding year, leading up to the big reveal of the current year’s slideshow.

Today, each member of the family has an edited copy by decade, which eventually included cellphone videos as the years rolled by.  As far as I know, the tradition continues as the family adds new members to their tribe.

Christmas Celebrations

My friend’s family was fortunate in that they could afford to take those trips – but the rest of us don’t have to be limited by finances.  We can take virtual trips!

For those who love Christmas celebrations as much as I do, the link at the left will take you to some Pinterest visuals with links to enticing blogs and websites: places to go, things to see and do, traditions to honor, Christmas music to download and play, movies to watch year after year . . .

These are my reminders that there are so many ways to celebrate the season each year!

(See also: my I LOVE Christmas in New York! board)

Another way to gift experiences

My friend Norma Jean still has the beautiful jewelry she received in the early years of her marriage, but she is much happier with the presents she finally persuaded her husband she would rather receive: seminars and learning opportunities.

Her interests change from year to year, but each year she gives him “her Santa list” – seminars and classes she would love to attend, but feels slightly guilty spending family money to pay for them.  Each year he picks one or two from her list, and finds a creative way to present them to her.

At first little notes were wrapped in beautiful boxes slipped into her stocking. The clever man put one notice in a box from Tiffany’s in New York, leading her to believe for a moment that her gift was to be jewelry once again.

His bold move was rewarded by her delight that it was, instead, a Six Month Reiki seminar she had long since decided was too expensive to consider.

Last year he sent her on a scavenger hunt.  The TWO big bows on her car finally let her know that the gifts were hidden inside – the car itself was not new.

He hid one in a small box under the hood and placed a hand-made certificate for another under the floor mat on the passenger’s side of the car.  One was a week-long spa-trip, and the other was an inexpensive energy healing workshop he had dug up on his own.

All of her friends can’t wait to find out the details of each year’s surprises – most of them wishing that their husbands would take a page from hers.

A GREAT gift for Christmas this year

THIS year, do something different. Give and receive gifts that will last: learning experiences that can change your lives, and memories that will linger for the remainder of them. And I’d REALLY like you to consider Group Coaching as one of those gifts.

Do you know anyone who is struggling with life matters that many others seem to take in stride?  YOU maybe?  Wouldn’t you like to change that unfortunate situation?

Even if private coaching is beyond your budget,
a few months of Group Coaching can make a HUGE difference in your experience of living.

No amount of free web-based information will ever replace personal attention from a skilled expert. Experienced support from a real-live human being who has spent the last 30 years studying Executive Functioning Disorders is the most valuable thing I have to offer.  And I’m practically giving it away right now.

Take me up on it

Tell the Santas in your life that what you want for Christmas this year is a brand new, high-functioning LIFE.

Click HERE if you already know you want to
Sign Up for Group Coaching now

Not sure? Let me know you are interested in the comments section below and FOLLOW so that I will have an email address to contact you before class registration closes, or if a spot opens up subsequently. (at the top of the rightmost column, right above the spam counter).


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About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

27 Responses to Christmas Gifts – the thought that counts

  1. dgkaye says:

    Great post M. It’s funny how certain memories linger with us more than others. I’m with you friend Norma Jean, courses, education and interesting things are a wonderful gift to receive. ❤ xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Madelyn. I love the gift ideas your friends have experienced. This year my sisters and I are exchanging hand made gifts. I hope they will treasure them…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sharing and wishing you A Very Merry Christmas, Madelyn! ❤ xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Stevie Turner, Indie Author. and commented:
    What do YOU want for Christmas?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Darlene says:

    Great ideas! As we get older, we don´t need things. In our house, growing up, we only got things we needed. If I needed anew winter coat, I got one for Christmas. If mom needed a new iron, she got one for Christmas and so on. We had to wait too, even though my old winter coat was too small and mom’s iron no longer worked. The gifts were practical and much appreciated. I also remember them. Hubby and I often give each other a trip or tickets to an event these days. The children in my life get books, of course!


    • Wow – only things you needed. That was quite the lesson in appreciation, yes? And books for kids is the best present ever, IMHO! My very favorite Christmas present in my childhood was a child’s dictionary when I was in the second grade. I learned years later that my mother grabbed it at the last minute as a “filler” present because my siblings had more to unwrap than I, never DREAMING it would be the huge hit that it was.


  6. Pingback: Five Golden Rings – from a Post-Christmas Sale | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  7. Pingback: A different kind of Christmas Special from PorterGirl | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  8. Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to you, dear Madelyn. Stay blessed! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much – a “prosperous” New Year would be welcomed indeed! 🙂

      I just popped over to your neck of the woods and read your Merry Christmas/Happy New Year final 2016 post, and followed you while I was there – so I’ll be seeing more of you in 2017.

      Have a blessed Christmas holiday.
      mgh (and TinkerToy)


  9. some bloke says:

    shoutout to Phillip Martin and another wonderful blog entry. 😃 later 🌞


    • Isn’t he the BEST?! WAY back in 2011, when this blog was relatively new, I wrote an article with details about all the good he does in the world, his generosity of spirit, and links sending people off to his site — especially to read about his mural work all over the globe (with KIDS!)
      link==>Who’s Martin?

      The man might be single-handedly responsible for saving some kind of art education in today’s “teach to the test” idea of educating children through his online “Art for the Non-Art Teacher“ — designed for all teachers to enhance art education at a time when the arts are threatened by the increasing standardization of “the common core” curriculum.

      Education NEEDS him – and people like him. Things are bound to get only MUCH worse with DeVoss – DT’s new billionaire appointee to oversee public education: never went to public school, kids didn’t attend public school, doesn’t really understand how public education works. She did, however, donate many millions to that man’s campaign.

      In support of that statement: you can’t “get rid” of a Federal mandate that doesn’t exist, no matter how many times your Party blames Obama for it.

      If she’d done ANY research AT ALL before opening her big mouth in her public promise “This means letting states set their own standards and finally putting an end to the federal Common Core,” she’d have KNOWN it is already a state by state situation.

      Doesn’t anybody on DT’s team vet their speeches, or is fact checking now totally irrelevant in the upcoming regime? NOBODY is crazy about the so-called “common-core” – but rather than look at the ISSUES around it on the way to change, she’s pointing fingers to obfuscate them (hmmm – I see a theme here)

      Interesting Washington Post article on the topic and Betsy’s approach: Trump’s choice for education secretary vows to ‘end’ Common Core

      Rack ’em up, McDonald, and play that funky circus music so the world can pretend it’s not going DARK on your watch!

      Thanks for reading – and taking the time to comment. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Let’s all do whatever we can to enjoy theses final days before the 1% makes the rules for at least the next four years.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. reocochran says:

    My DIL makes her gifts for each of us and I love them so much! I start in January and this week pulled out gobs of sale items, only negative: non-returnable. Hugs to you, Madelyn! Happy Holidays! xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • I used to make many of my gifts as well – hand-designed, individual-specific Christmas stockings my specialty. I bought the rest on sale (many after Christmas, since I have long celebrated the present-fest on Twelfth Night)

      Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays – and thanks for stopping by and taking time to let me know that you did.

      Liked by 1 person

      • reocochran says:

        I did think the request of a spouse to provide learning gifts, courses and conferences was a new example here which I never had thought of before, Madelyn.
        I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. May we have a few dreams come true, even if just the smallest gesture or special sight. . . xo


        • It took my friend NJ several years to work up the nerve to ask, Robin, but her husband was thrilled to have the “what to give that she’ll really love” question answered. He thought up the scavenger hunt himself (little clues in wrapped boxes telling her where to find the next one, etc.) because he wanted to make it more fun. She thought up the “Santa list” because she knew he liked to surprise her — so she never knows exactly what he will choose, OR how much he was thinking of spending. I think it’s a great idea.

          TinkerToy and I send our best to you and yours – may 2017 be the year where our dreams come true!


  11. Christy B says:

    I love the idea of giving experiences rather than material gifts 🙂 So many great memories are created that way. Happy Holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Christy. I know a lot of people who give services too – and those always go over better than something that comes from a store.

      When I was a really broke college student, my Dad stuck a note in my stocking that said, “All debts forgiven” – which was a total surprise and a huge delight — and he probably thought he’d do better turning them into presents than waiting until I graduated and could afford to pay him back. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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