Two more days until Christmas!

I can remember so many countdowns over the years.

As youngstesr, it was all we could do to contain our excitement as the occasion drew near.

We were the kids who were unable to fall asleep Christmas Eve, only to arise around 3 or 4 a.m.

My poor parents, I think now that I’ve become a parent.

In our case, my mother was the one who typically made the sacrifice to get up with us and witness the ceremonial unwrapping of the Santa gifts.

Maybe because my father had been the one who stepped up to put together bicycles and gazillion-part toys that bore the fine print, “some assembly required.”

Dad could always join us for round two of the unveiling, after we’d opened everything that had our name on it and then were ushered back to bed with instructions to awaken at a more decent hour.

As fun as that was as a child, I must admit that I was most grateful to have birthed the kind of children who opted to sleep until 6 or 7 a.m. to usher in their gift discoveries.

These days, I find that I am more excited about finding the right gift to give than I am about receiving them. My once-lengthy list of things I wanted for the occasion has now dwindled as I realize there is little I need.

Call it the George Bailey school of thought. He being the main character in the popular holiday classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Some depict the film as being a glass half empty — poor George, often the one left behind as he made way for everyone else to leave town, pursue their dreams and achieve success.

Other viewers understood the treacherous journey fraught with obstacles that made its poignant point quite adeptly.

Sometimes we have to sit through a long movie to receive the payoff that comes at the very end.

Much like life.

Much like recognizing the true meaning, and value, of things.

Which brings me to my question for the day — what is the best possible Christmas gift?

Is it sparkly or the latest in technology, costly or cheap? Could it be a hard-to-find trinket, something that stirs many memories or one they had just like it as a youth?

Everyone’s answer will likely be as unique as they are.

I’m finding, though, as years pass that no matter how many stores, virtual, online or pop-up, the most important and valuable treasures cannot be found there.

Truly the best things in life are free — no one can put a price on them and they are, in fact, priceless.

Time. Love. Family. Friends. The kindness of a stranger. The things of which wonderful memories can be made that last long after the holiday is over.

It doesn’t hurt to have a working knowledge of the reason for the season. That little baby who came to save the world.

The beauty and the brilliance of the birth of Jesus is in the fact that he grew up to be someone worth knowing and emulating.

Now that’s a priceless gift.