Whatever your beliefs, we’re about to end one year and start another. And at this time of the year, people from across the world give gifts. It’s a wonderful way to show love and appreciation and build your relationships at home and even on the job.
However, the original meaning of the season has been forgotten by so many people. For them, the season has become nothing more than a fun but expensive, commercial venture.
Even the Grinch learned that and as a result, it changed his life and the lives of countless others. As Dr. Seuss wrote in his book, “Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more?”
► 1. The gift of listening.
Psychologists tell us that one of the greatest things we can do for another is to actively listen. Why not give this valuable gift to those individuals on your list who live alone and have no one else to talk to? This means you really listen — no interrupting, no daydreaming, no glancing at your cell phone every few minutes, and no planning your response. Just listen.
► 2. The gift of affection.
Take the time to give your loved ones signs of affection. Be generous with your hugs, your kisses, your gentle squeezes of the hand, and your pats on the back. Let these tiny actions demonstrate the great love you have inside of you.
► 3. The gift of a note.
Write notes to your loved ones. They can be as simple as “I love you” or as creative as a sonnet. Put your notes where they will surprise those special people–in his lunch, in her purse, among his socks, on her car seat. Though the notes may be a surprise, they will never be forgotten.
► 4. The gift of laughter.
Everyone loves to laugh. Just cut out a cartoon, clip a joke, copy a riddle, or save a clever article. Your gift will say, “I want you to be happy and I hope this puts a smile on your face and a chuckle in your belly.”
► 5. The gift of a game.
Most people have at least one game they like to play, whether it is tennis, golf, poker, chess, checkers, Monopoly, or the latest board game. Offer to play your loved one’s favorite game with him or her. Even if you lose, you’ll be a winner, because together you will have shared an experience.
► 6. The gift of a favor.
Do favors for those special people on your list. Help with the dishes, type up that letter, clean out the basement, shovel the driveway, run to the store. This gift is made more valuable when it anticipates a request rather than when it responds to one.
► 7. The gift of a cheerful disposition.
Try to be cheerful around those you love and those you work with. That means no complaining, no feeling sorry for yourself, no nasty comments, no screaming, and no pessimistic predictions. Your gift of cheerfulness will be a precious gift for everyone, including yourself.
And by the way, you don’t have to wait until you feel cheerful before you give this gift. Just act cheerfully and more often than not you will end up being genuinely cheerful.
► 8. The gift of space.
There are times in your life when you want nothing more than to be left alone. Become more sensitive to those times in the lives of others. Then respond generously by giving them the gift of solitude, or privacy, of “do not disturb,” of being left alone.
► 9. The gift of a compliment.
Pay your loved ones compliments. A simple “You look good in blue” or “Your creativity is amazing” or “Your help on that project really saved the day” can be of tremendous value to people who may feel they are being taken for granted. PS: This gift works wonders on the job as well. Compliment someone on doing a great job.
► 10. The gift of prayer.
Don’t forget one of the most immaterial yet most valuable gifts you can give: the gift of prayer. Pray for all those people on your Christmas shopping list and let them know that you pray for them. Praying for someone is another way of saying, “You are so special to me that I often talk to God about you.”
Merry Christmas to all of you!