Maximize Your Holiday Presence

Dad, do you want to know how much your presence is worth this holiday season? That’s “presence”–like your time, being there with your family–not “presents,” as in gifts. What is your presence worth to your children?

One answer comes from a boy named Connor, whose mom wrote to us. Conner’s dad died when he was four years old. During the holidays a few years back, when Connor was eight, he asked Santa to bring back his dad—if only for just ten days! Connor even sweetened the deal with Santa, a ten-for-ten exchange. He would give up Christmas presents for the next ten years if he could spend ten more days with his dad!

That’s a heart-tugging example of how valuable you are, dad, and the holidays are the time when your kids especially want you there. This young man was willing to give up his presents for his dad’s presence.

As true as that is, I know there are also dads who hear about how badly their kids want them there for the holidays, and it only brings sadness and pain. They would surely give up ten years of holiday gifts to spend ten days with their kids, but a divorce or other circumstances may prevent that.

So I would say to those dads and all other dads, make the most of the opportunities you have. Whether it’s every day at home or just a few days at a nearby hotel; whether you interact with your children at meals and bedtime or through phone calls, e-mails and text messages, maximize your presence.

You’re creating memories that last a long time. Even if your kids won’t admit it or don’t even realize it right now, young Connor’s sentiments should stay with you. Your kids really do cherish your presence.


  • Ask your child what he or she would like to do with you—just the two of you—around the holidays, and set a time to do it.
  • Laugh with your kids during the holidays. Watch funny movies, play games, or read joke books together.
  • Be sure to take your children to buy something special for their mom (even if you pay for it).

Watch the replay of the Fathering Breakthrough Event

Join Dr. Ken Canfield and a handful of friends and partners as we give an update about our efforts to inspire and equip fathers all over the world.

There may be no more important work than turning the hearts of fathers to their children, and that’s what this is all about. We’re seeking to repair, rebuild and restore effective fathering for the benefit of children and families everywhere.

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