Your presence is the best present

We are in full holiday-mode now. Hanukkah is already over, and we have just 8 days to Christmas. Most of us are probably getting prepared, shopping, baking, working extra overtime (shout out to my musician friends). And this is all during a time when we are supposed to be preparing for time off with our families. After all, your presence is the best present to those you love.

(Please forgive the cheesy pun).

This year, I am lucky enough to have some more time on my hands. But that hasn’t been the case for the entirety of my adult life. Christmas for musicians, is essentially where we make most of our money for the year. Whether we are playing 100 Nutcracker shows, 20 Messiah’s, or just going around playing random combinations of gigs, you are generally swamped and don’t have time for a whole lot else.

This includes Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. I’ve had to miss out on family get-togethers for so many years, because I had to go make money to support Katie and myself.  This happens in other industries too – retail, restaurants, software & tech, etc.

But what’s really important is making quality time for your loved ones. I can’t say that I’d wished I’d been working when the rest of my family was having a get together.  I can say, however, that anytime I’ve turned down work to unplug and relax, it’s been well worth missing out on $400 bucks. And I know that they have been grateful for the opportunity to spend time with me.

At the same time, I have always been grateful for the opportunity to make some extra cash. I know that many of the people that I have performed for over the years, were incredibly grateful that I was able to share my gifts with them, for what they held dear during the holiday season.  It’s a tricky thing. Even though I wasn’t able to be with my own family, I was glad I could help make someone else’s time with their family special.

I know, this is confusing. The point is, gratitude is important, and it shows itself everywhere if you look for it, especially during the holidays. You should know that you are valuable in everything you do. Whether you know it or not, no matter what field of service you work in, you are almost certainly contributing to making someone else’s holiday season special.

Whether you work at Amazon, to help others get gifts for their loved one, work at a restaurant to help serve others while they spend quality time with their loved ones, or are a musician that performs 100 Nutcrackers for people to keep their tradition to go see it every years. Everyone is contributing. But always make sure to remember, to take time for yourself and your loved ones too. And take solace and gratitude in knowing that others are going to help serve you and your loved ones as well. Your presence is a gift – to everyone.

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