“What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more?”
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?”
It does mean a great deal more! So let me suggest a list of gifts that you can give to anyone on your list at home or in the office.
Even though these gifts won’t cost you a dime, that doesn’t mean they are worthless. On the contrary, when you give one of these gifts, you are giving the most priceless gift of all: yourself.
I believe the enlightened, new-and-improved Grinch would approve of these ten gifts. In fact, I would suggest that you keep on giving these ten gifts all year long … because they will dramatically improve your relationships at home and your teamwork on the job.
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 walking away, 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 pantry shelf. Though the notes may be a surprise, they will never be forgotten.
Write notes to those you respect and admire. I was touched this week when Kay Keller, one of my University students from years ago, sent a combination birthday card and Christmas greeting. And she has never failed to send such a note, year after year after year.
4. The Gift of Laughter.
Everyone loves to laugh. Give those you love a gift. Just cut out a cartoon, clip a joke, copy a riddle, or save a clever article. Your gift will say, “I love to laugh with you.”
5. The Gift of a Game.
Most people have at least one game they like to play, whether it is tennis, golf, poker, chess or checkers. 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.
In fact, your kids will put more value on the TIME you spend playing a game with them than they will the game you gave them. Children spell L-O-V-E with the four-letter word T-I-M-E and those are the memories that will stick with them for a lifetime.
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.
8. The Gift of Space.
There are times in our lives when we 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 “I like your hair that way,” or “Good supper, Honey” can be of tremendous value to people who may feel they are being taken for granted.
(Side Note: This gift works wonders on the job as well. Compliment someone on doing a great job.)
10. The Gift of Prayer.
Let’s not forget one of the most immaterial yet most valuable gifts we 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.”