Now that the big day has arrived, treat most of you may read this after Santa has arrived perhaps. Much of the flurry and thank-you are gone. And while more and more football seems to consume our family’s attention on special Holidays, treat this trend moves us away from the most powerful gift we have to give our family and friends: Our full presence!

Presence over presents?

Perhaps this question suggests that there is some problem in giving or sharing gifts. To be clear, this is not what I mean. Of course, give…and give to your heart’s content. This is the action of showing we love or care in some way. Often, it makes you feel even better than the receiver of the gift, particularly when the giving comes from the heart.

However, gift-giving easily centers almost all our attention on the externals of the world, the material, and the ultimately fleeting source of pleasure. These wonderful gifts will lose their emotional value with time, decay, and often not even have a place in our homes a year or two from now. This is particularly true for the kids!

So, by placing so much attention on the externals, we end up teaching our children to focus their happiness (almost exclusively) on the external, material stuff of the world. Again, let’s be clear: Most of this ‘stuff’ is not bad per se.

So, what’s the point? There are two points to ponder. First, the more we encourage our kids to focus on getting, the more they will follow that lead…and focus on wanting more. More ‘getting’ tends to result in more obvious wanting. This is not contentment or happiness.

Secondly, the process of giving so much attention to the presents is often all-consuming while it’s happening. Then, the focus might turn to using or playing with the presents, or it might turn elsewhere…perhaps to other preparations, football, or food.

Regardless, our presence or attention can easily be pulled to the externals and drawn away from what matters.

How might we use our presence today (and every day)?

Consider your highest intentions of the day. What are they? Perhaps to show your love, to create a smile, or bring a moment of happiness. If you dig a little deeper behind those intentions, you will find the source of this comes from your heart…from your love…from your innate goodness within. Yes, it sounds corny, but it’s true!

I’d like to invite you to experiment and find out what happens. Today, remain attentive to your heart, to your love, and your concern for others. Let your highest intention remain the driver in what gets your attention. Don’t be drawn in by lower intentions, reactivity, or the negatives of others. Walk away from those quickly.

By turning toward your own heart, and holding a love present, notice how easily you can smile. Notice how easily you can enjoy the smallest of moments. Notice how easily the beauty of the day is available to you. Notice how easy it is to simply sit with your son or daughter, and be present to their play, their laughter, or their learning. In these moments, trust that few words may be needed. This is not always true, but you may find it to be that way.

The bottom line: Consider being present to the source of your highest intentions for the day, and engage your world with that awareness in mind. For most, it will be your Love leading throughout the day. And that alone will open the door to more joy and happiness for you and your loved ones.