The Present is You!

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. — Eleanor Roosevelt

The present is you! Don’t you think so too? Our days on this earth, all numbered by God, give each of us ample opportunities to be a gift to others, not just on Christmas. This present can be given, opened, and treasured.

A purchase well thought out, beautifully wrapped and placed under the tree with a gorgeous bow, tied just right, is fine and dandy. It breeds anticipation of what is inside the box. The tree, the presents, the carols, the Christmas cards, yes, even the unending to-do-lists are there to remind us that Christmas is coming. Love fills our hearts as we buy, wrap, and mail gifts to those we love, those we miss, and even those we have forgotten.

We ask ourselves, why can’t every day be Christmas?

My mom, age 93, and I often chat together about days gone by, a time when Christmas was Christ centered, a time when a life well lived meant more than rushing to and fro. This “once upon a time” was an era when a handwritten thank you note was the norm, pies and cakes were made from scratch, and a neighbor knocked on the door to borrow a cup of sugar.

It was a time when children played outside without a care and school was a safe haven. A time when people trusted their neighbors and often had an open door to friendship coupled with an “I have your back mentality.” A time when life was a little simpler and material needs fewer.

Sharing life and love with all we met was that time. It was a time when people were not too busy to care, nor afraid to pause in prayer. Those were the days, my friend, we thought would never end.

On one of my “mom and me” chats, she shared about the best Christmas present she ever received. It was a long time ago, Christmas 1932 to be exact, although she remembers it as if it were yesterday. Her eyes always seem to light up when she shares the story.

World War I had taken the funds out of Christmas for many American families. The Morono family was one of them, because grandpa was a disabled veteran.

My Uncle Sam, then barely 10 years old, sized up the situation then decided to take matters into his own hands. With a maturity way beyond his years, and a heart full of love for his family, Sammy took this dilemma to the top, the president of the USA, then Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor.

Sammy sent a handwritten letter to the White House.

What transpired next was not written in history books nor known to many, but to this family, whose lives it touched, it was imprinted on their hearts not to be forgotten.

If you read the old newspaper clipping, you get a glimpse into what the words, “The Present Is You!” really means.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s heart was touched by this young boy, Sam’s, request. Not only did she make Christmas come alive in this meager home, but also brought along a news crew.

Sammy’s request was specific, “My sisters, Eleanor and Mary, would like dolls, and my brother, Jasper, a dump cart.” As for himself, Sam added, “I would be much pleased to have a train of cars.” In the style of old St. Nick, the president’s wife read the list and did not disappoint. She took time to make a little boy’s dream come true by providing presents to place under the tree for his family.

This act of kindness took residency in my mom, Eleanor Manfredi’s heart, for over 90 years. Life is a fabric of the stories lived, knit together to make a tapestry of who we are. Mom takes pride in sharing the name Eleanor with Mrs. Roosevelt. Mom also shares a desire to always give of herself.

What about you? Will you be the present to others to help knit the tapestry of their life? Your life is given by God for a purpose. Be the present that they will open up and treasure forever. Be the story that will be told generation after generation, giving God Glory forever more.

Merry Christmas every day of the year!

Ellen Mongan is a Christian writer and speaker and the founder of Little Pink Dress Ministry. She is the host of WOW MOM podcast on YouTube and blogs for Catholic Mom and Woman of Grace. Email her at

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