The Most Meaningful Gifts This Holiday Season

We've said that it would never happen again...frantic last minute shopping, insurmountable to do lists that bring us to the edge of collapse and a mound of wrapping paper piled so high that we can't see over it. We've said we'd simplify, scale back and realize the beauty and true calling of the season. But then somehow when the bugle blew the day after Thanksgiving, we were off to the races!

How do we slow the pace down and create a memorable season ? There is so much we want to do for our loved ones yet it's easy to become so automated and rushed in our movements that we miss the present. Without staying mindful, beautiful moments can easily rush past without us giving us an opportunity to fully experience their richness.

We'd like to but how can we realistically slow down when there's so much to do ? How can we stay in the moment and be mindfully aware of the true gifts of the holidays ? Follow these three suggestions to bring the most meaning to yourself and others:

1. Gift your gratitude. Bring to mind a loved one and feel the joy the relationship brings to you. Think of the tender moments you've shared. Instead of taking time to buy another impermanent object, take time to sit down and write a letter expressing why you're grateful they are in your life. Be as specific as possible and include examples that are unique to them. Make sure your letter is on beautiful archival quality stationary so that it can be cherished forever.

2. Communicate the gift that will be your life story. When most people look at the task of sharing their legacy they can be overwhelmed with the seeming enormity of the task. However, the best memoirs are not chronological and don't include all of life's details. Choose the most significant events that have shaped your life and explain why they are important to you. Commit to just a few paragraphs every day and when you have a pile put them in the order that makes the most sense for you. You'll start to see a pattern emerge that you can compile into a larger body of work to give as a unique and heartfelt gift that will be treasured long after the holidays are over.

3. Give the gift of your time and service as a stand alone gift or in exchange with others. Look at where people need help in the day to day aspects of their life and lend support. Offer your help depending on where people are in their lives. Perhaps mothers can use an hour or two of your in-house help to watch the kids as they get some needed things done. Maybe a senior can use the gift of your labor to have some work done around their house. As we tune into the specific needs of others, we realize that there are numerous opportunities to help those we care about lighten their loads.

When we focus on giving the gift of ourselves through sharing our gratitude as well as our lives, our time and our service; the most valuable things become crystal clear. At the same time, the lesser things fall away. Ultimately, when we act on what is most important to us, we make room for true meaning and have more time to enjoy the beauty of the season.


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