Every parent knows the reward of giving, especially at Christmas.

Watching a child open a present with wide-eyed wonder is a special reward. It doesn’t matter if the child knows whether it’s you or Santa Claus who gave the gift. What matters is the joy in the child’s eyes.

Many times, we don’t even know who the recipient will be. Angel trees, Toys for Tots, Adopt a Family are a few examples of this

As we buy the gift, we only can imagine the joy of the recipient. It doesn’t lessen the joy in the giving.

This is true of all ages. Watch a child as they give a homemade gift to a parent or teacher. You can see the joy in their faces as they too experience the joy of giving.

Last week I saw this at a nursing home I often visit.

For the past several weeks several residents had been making bracelets. I have a box of beads of all kinds I had taken for them to work with. Some they made for themselves. Others they made as gifts for their daughters and granddaughters.

But there were still many extra bracelets.

When I asked what we should do with them the group of women all agreed. They wanted to give them away to other residents and employees.

Carefully they laid the bracelets of all colors out on the table where they worked. As female residents entered the dining hall where they were, they motioned them over to the table.

The resident and often, employee pushing a wheelchair, were encouraged to pick out a bracelet of their choosing. A few male employees were encouraged to choose a bracelet for their spouse.

Smiles were everywhere as the resident and employee did the difficult task of picking out ‘only one’ of the sparkling bracelets. Sometimes the makers, who were able, put a handful of bracelets on their wrist and walked over to a resident already seated.

Holding out their arms they encouraged the resident to pick out a bracelet. “Really for me?” was often the response. “Yes, for you. Merry Christmas,” was the reply. Hugs and laughter often followed.

I don’t know who got the most enjoyment out of this time. The recipient of the bracelet, the giver who had made the bracelet, or me as I watched this happy exchange. I just know it brightened my week.

I have witnessed this spirit of giving all year in these ladies. When they make a Halloween mask, cards, or window hanging, they want to make extra. Those extra or to give to other residents who are part of their “family” at the nursing home.