The Gift of Time

By Sarah Fuller
Distinguished Young Woman of Pennsylvania for 2013


Each year, the holiday season seems to come sooner. I’m not complaining; I anxiously await the beautiful colors of Christmas lights and tinsel, the festive music that plays on the radio, and the kinder spirit that seems to fill the air. Along with these comes the question of what to give our friends and family members for Christmas. I’ve always enjoyed giving more than receiving, but creativity in finding the perfect gift to wrap has never been a strength of mine. 
I’ve received much advice from my mother growing up, but looking back on everything she has told me, one piece of wisdom stands out above all of the others: The greatest gift you can give is the gift of your time. When I was younger, I didn’t believe her; I always wanted to find something to wrap in pretty paper, something to place under our Christmas tree in a big box, an unexpected gift that was unique…When I think back on the gifts that my friends and family have appreciated the most, I realize my mom was right. That coupon for cleaning our family car inside and out was something that was desperately needed. My best friend and I made more memories when we shared a day out together before a sleepover than through exchanging gifts. My teachers appreciated when we would organize the bookshelves and clean the chalkboards more than they would have needed knick-knacks to sit on their desks.

The spirit of giving is something that should be in our hearts throughout the entire year, but when asking yourself what to give someone as a gift, consider giving the gift of your time. An afternoon to go to lunch with your grandmother and to share stories with her, a game night with your siblings to see who is the real ping-pong champion, offering to help your dad clean out the garage… the list goes on!  The greatest gift we can give to people we care about won’t sit on a shelf and cannot be wrapped in paper. It is sharing our time with them and showing them how very much they mean to us.
Sarah Fuller is a college freshman at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania majoring in Early Childhood Education & Special Education. Originally from Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, Sarah was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Pennsylvania for 2013. Learn more about Sarah here!

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