Pam Rainey: Fill list with gifts of self

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My girlfriends and I often chuckle about our Christmas shopping habits. We buy one present for the person on our list. Then we pick up a little something for ourselves. We call it retail therapy.

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas in our family without at visit to Wel­don’s Western Wear near downtown Denton and a visit with Weldon Bur­goon and his daughter, Kippie. I have already started the Christmas season off right with some serious retail therapy at the Courthouse Collection and a visit with owner Karen Wilson.

Denton has many older and newer shops from which to choose. Don’t miss them when doing your holiday shopping. If you haven’t been to the Denton Square lately, take time to go. Indulge yourself in the friendliness the shop owners and clerks offer and the warm hand of friendship they extend.

While the spirit of Christ­mas is giving, in­dulging yourself isn’t all bad. Here are some gifts you might consider giving yourself. Perhaps you once possessed them. Due to busy schedules or bitterness, one by one, you, like others, may have lost them.

The gifts I mention today bring joy to the receiver, but the receiver has to be open to the gifts. Why not indulge yourself once again? The price is right, the color will be perfect and you won’t have to fight the crowd returning these gifts to the store.

Compassion. Recently I saw a post on Facebook that said: “Someone went out of their way to help me today. I wanted to mention it because it was so unusual.” Hmm. Should compassion be so unusual that it would merit a mention on Facebook? Have you offered compassion — even in a small way — to someone in need lately while expecting nothing in return? Why not give it a test?

Joy. You might say you have nothing to be joyful about? I get it. But look around. Have you lost a meal lately? Are your closets bulging with clothes (of all sizes, some you hope to get back into next year), and do you have a savings account (even though it might be smaller than before)?

Hospitality. Do you put aside inviting friends over until your house is clean or until you have time? I did. But my husband and I have learned this year that a spur-of-the-moment gathering of friends can be priceless. We might share peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a glass of sweet tea or a cup of coffee, but it is the treasured friends in our home that make our lives complete.

After all, real friends really do not inspect for dust. They come for laughter, joy and common bonds. And we all cherish the hug and understanding that friends old and new offer, whether we are hurting, need a listening ear or want to enjoy conversation.

Worship. Please note that I do not mention where. Our forefathers fought so that we might have religious freedom. Embrace it, honor it and find a place to practice it. Worship where your needs are met and, most of all, where you can meet needs.

Time. Your talents, personality, background and wealth of experiences can be the most rewarding gifts you give to others or yourself. Learn a new skill, read a book you’ve planned to read and put off, or take the trip you’ve put on your bucket list. It was pointed out to me recently: “Travel now while you can.”

Smile. Years ago, when I worked as a receptionist, I was told to smile when I answered the phone. It worked. My words seemed to become more courteous if I offered a smile to someone over a telephone line. And, guess what else happened? When I smiled, I felt happy. Besides when we smile, the whole world wonders what we are up to. Let’s keep them guessing.

May every reader enjoy giving and receiving during this magical time of year. And may the world receive that for which we all long: peace, the greatest gift of all.

PAM RAINEY is a 40-year Denton resident and a real estate agent who has helped many seniors make decisions about living arrangements. You can reach her with suggestions at or 940-367-1188.


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