A kind word or smile can be the best present

A recent article on spending time with ageing parents inspired me to think about the best gift that one could give for Christmas (Best present for your ageing parent? Simply be present; Dec 16).

In our materialistic society, we often forget that the best gift is not one that is the most beautiful, most expensive or most practical, but one that is simply sincere.

Like the article mentioned, the gift of time and presence is the best present we can give to our loved ones.

I believe spending time with my octogenarian grandmother is a heartfelt and priceless gift to her, especially with the busy lifestyle I lead.

However, the best gift does not depend solely on the present itself but also on the receiver.

The best present can also be given by extending the spirit of giving to others in the community.

We can be more mindful of others who may not get the chance to receive presents or celebrate the season with their families.

A small donation to less fortunate families or a gentle word and a smile to foreign workers could also be a great present.

Christmas is not just a season of festivities. It is the permeation of love for our loved ones and greater inclusivity of everyone we meet.

Rachel Loh Si Ning

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2018, with the headline 'A kind word or smile can be the best present'. Print Edition | Subscribe