Nancy Giles on the real gifts of Christmas


(CBS News) Christmas is about children of course. The children WE once were, and the children we love now. But it is also about growing up. With some thoughts on that here is our Nancy Giles:

"'Tis the season," and giving and getting is in high gear, and hopefully all that purchasing will stimulate the economy, and that would be a good thing.

But at a certain point, since most of us are all grown up, do we really need any presents? Regardless of whether we were naughty or nice?

Can any new "stuff" be better than the time you got a Give-A-Show projector, or a bicycle with training wheels and fringe on the handlebars, or an E-Z Bake Oven with all the devil's food cake mix packets I'd need to live in my room forever?

For me, those were the best Christmases ever, when Santa coming down the chimney in the middle of the night with toys and surprises was a real thing. That was wonderful.

And then came the bitter, "No one understands me" years, when I truly felt that I gave much better than I "got" from my family at Christmas. Why the flannel PJs that were the same size as my younger sister, who was six inches shorter than me? What's with the wrinkle-reduction skin care system? And who thought of the blank book that I'd seen at Barnes & Noble under the "last-minute stocking stuffers" sign? Yeah, I got that from two different siblings. The same year.

Do you hear that? I was selfish, self-involved, not one ounce of gratitude. And forget about that "Silent Night, Holy Night" jazz, or any of those Kwanzaa or Hanukkah traditions, or even just some year-end reflection. Christmas was all about what I "got" (or in my case, didn't "get").

Thankfully, somewhere along the line I got it. I don't need anything.

And the reminders are everywhere. Hurricane Sandy, seeing neighborhoods ravaged, homes washed away, and neighbors sifting through debris for treasured family pictures.

And then last week, the shooting in Newtown.

As the news broke, it felt like the entire country stopped for a moment and got its priorities straight.

What do we need? It's simple. Loved ones. Good health. A place to call home. Food. Clothing. A job. And some wonderful memories.

When I used to ask my mom what she wanted for Christmas, year after year she'd give the same weary response: "Love and peace," and I'd roll my eyes and say, "Okay, but what can I get you from Macy's?"

Now I get it. Love and peace, and giving to people in need. That's all I want for Christmas from now on.