It's not even Halloween yet, and I've noticed advertisers have been stepping up their game, launching their holiday shopping campaigns earlier than ever!

Lists have come out with the "Top Toys for 2018," and kids are starting think about what they want to see under the tree this year. I'm all for planning ahead, getting a good deal, and for that cool feeling you get when your child unwraps that much anticipated gift, with a giant smile on their face. But I wanted to take a minute to remind you (as much as to remember myself) that sometimes the best gifts cost absolutely nothing.

As parents, I think we're pulled in so many directions. And these days, it seems our kids are being pulled in many, many more. It's so easy to get caught up in the mad dash that is life, and the holiday season. But one thing I have noticed to be true in my little corner of the world, is that most of the time, memories last longer than stuff. And what's nice about that, is you can make a memory, any time, any day ... for absolutely free! All you need is time. And it doesn't need to be a giant chunk of it. Just a few solid minutes can lock in a lifetime feeling of happy for your kid.

For instance, it's been a crazy week at my house. And last night, after dinner and homework had been finished, and the kids had some down-time to chill, I called them all in to my room. Now, I have a pretty big bed. And on that bed, there's usually a pretty big pile of laundry. But that didn't matter. Because I picked each of my kids up, and while shouting out "whoop!", I tossed them each into the pile on the bed. Then I proceeded, to their complete surprise, to take a flying leap on to it, myself. You should have seen the shock on their faces!

"Mom just messed up the laundry pile! What's happening?!" It was priceless! After about a 10-minute tickle session, during which even my oldest, who is too-cool-for-school, got his rear-end handed to him, we scattered our separate ways to do some chores before bedtime.

What struck me the most about this, is that as I kissed them each goodnight, later in the evening, they each, unsolicited, commented on how much fun it was to spend time together and be silly. Time. Time is the currency by which our kids fill their banks. Time is what they value most. And who could blame them? So many of us spend our time looking at screens more than we do at the faces of the people who mean the most to us. That includes grown-ups, spouses, friends ... not just our kids.

You wanna give the best gift this holiday season ... or really any day of the week? Spend some time with someone.

They say "time is money." Well, it's really so much more, isn't it.? Because there's always more money to be earned. But time? Well, you can't renew that resource. So spend it wisely!