Sunday, December 20, 2015

Perfect Christmas Gifts

Editor’s note: I have asked my friend Sandra Howlett, grief specialist, for permission to use one of her writings during this holiday season. This is directed at everyone, bereaved or not, about what you can do to make this a special holiday for everyone. At the same time, bereaved parents can honor their child who died with many of these deeds. Happy Holidays to all.
This is the season where many people spend tremendous energy and money on gift giving. This can be stressful and worrisome in addition to the strain on your credit card. What if you had an alternative? What is the ‘perfect gift’ and how much would it cost? There are a host of alternative gifts that are sure to fit your budget and your heart.

The Gift of Your Time—Being with someone, giving them your undivided attention, is perhaps one of the most precious, priceless gifts you can offer. You may put together a puzzle with a child or go for a walk or visit someone in a nursing home. Whatever you choose, you are creating a memory of caring and sharing.

The Gift of Listening—Good listeners are rare treasures. You have an opportunity to allow someone to tell their story and pay full attention to them. This means no interruptions, no chiming in with your story…only listening to theirs and asking questions for more details.

The Gift of Your Talent—What do you do well? You don’t need to be perfect, just a cut above some others? Do you make great banana bread? Can you fix a leaky faucet? Can you take a letter for someone unable to see or write anymore? What can you do with ease that you could share with others?

The Gift of Your Smile—Have you noticed the faces of others while you are out and about? Some people seem distracted, frustrated or borderline miserable while going about their daily doings. Offer them your smile—a free gift of encouragement. Make eye contact and connect with a smile and a gleam in your eye. You just might be the person who turns their day around…and it is sure to lift your own spirits along the way.

The Gift of Your Forgiveness—Forgiveness is highly personal and should never be forced on anyone. Consider for yourself, is there something that you have carried too long and paid too high a price for? Who could you release from judgment today? Maybe it is yourself.

The Gift of Your Acceptance—Sometimes the greatest gift we can offer someone is to love and accept them—as is. We could give the same gift to ourselves. Rather than harsh comparisons with others that are inevitably hurtful to someone, what if we allowed ourselves to hold pure, unconditional acceptance of another person…and let them know that?

The Gift of Your Remembrance—This could be a card or call to someone you do not see often with a simple ‘thinking of you’ message. These spontaneous remembrances are some of the sweetest in life. Enclose a story, article of interest, clipping or a favorite memory. What a terrific surprise this can be.

The Gift of Your Treasures—What do you have that you are willing to share with another? I’m not talking about donations to the local thrift shop. I mean items of interest or beauty in your home that have served you well, given you pleasure and you are now ready to share them with others. If you have things that you want to eventually bequeath to your loved ones, go ahead, give them a gift now so that they can properly thank you and you can live to see them enjoy the treasures!

The Gift of Your Anonymous Good Deed—Do something for someone else anonymously. Be creative and have fun with this. You could pay for someone’s meal, leave a pot of flowers on someone’s doorstep, wrap one of your favorite books and send without your return address---the list is endless and exciting!

The Gift of Your Appreciation—Make a list of 10 things you appreciate about a specific person and send it to them. Combine personal, serious and humorous attributes of your friend. I guarantee  this will be one gift that is neither discarded nor forgotten.

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