By Pioneer Staff

For those who celebrate, Christmas is a time of festive cheer, delicious food, colourful lights and beautifully wrapped gifts. 

However, this time of year seems to slowly be shifting away from spending time with loved ones, and more so placed on what is inside those boxes wrapped in shiny wrapping paper. This means that the pressure to find that “perfect gift” is on. 

According to the 2021 Deloitte Holiday Retail Outlook which surveyed over 1,000 Canadian consumers of varying ages, financial stature and geographic regions, households are expected to spend $1,841 on average during the holiday season. This heightened level of consumerism is daunting when looking at such numbers as a whole. But, as many know, it is easy to spend a little here and a little there.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty as the next person— showcasing my love in the form of pretty bows and wrapping paper decorated with cartoon penguins, skating polar bears, or even the Grinch. Which is why I would argue that shifting priority from monetary gifts to spending time with loved ones is of the utmost importance, especially considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The one thing that cannot be bought is time, which makes it the cost-free gift to give this holiday season. 

My heart goes out to all families dealing with loss at this time of year. With all the hardships that the past year has brought with it— prolonged isolation, social-distancing, mandatory masks, and sporadic closures— there is a renewed inspiration to cherish the small moments with family and friends. 

Whether one celebrates Christmas or not, take a moment to strap on some skates, cozy up in front of a fire with some hot cocoa, or simply take in the lights with loved ones. Those experiences, those moments— they are the one gift that cannot be bought and last a lifetime.