This week holds the last days of Hanukkah, the first day of winter and ends with Christmas eve. That’s a lot of holiday spirit in a calendar week. While you’re all hustling to make sure that you’ve checked off all the gifts on your list and remembered all the important people that you will be seeing through the holidays, please take a pause and reflect.
Aside from the brash commercialism of the season, the shopping, wrapping and dispersion of presents I want you to take a moment to appreciate the gifts of rare value that you possess and can share at your holiday gatherings, places of worship and beyond. These are the gifts that you can give without spending a penny that will hold their value far into the new year and years to come.
Gifts of kindness, warmth and hospitality: Open your home and heart to not only your friends and family but to an acquaintance you might know who doesn’t have a family to share the holiday with. Give a kind word to a stranger. Uplift someone who’s downtrodden. A gesture of kindness can mean the difference for someone this holiday season. Volunteer at a shelter for the homeless.
Gifts of tolerance, sensitivity and empathy: Not everyone has a good experience at the holidays. This can be the most difficult time of the year for some. Not everyone celebrates your holiday traditions. Be sensitive to those who are hurting and feeling alone. Put yourself in their shoes and reach out to someone who is struggling. Be tolerant of other faiths and don’t declare a ‘war’ on your holiday just because it’s not the same as theirs.
Gifts of hope, positivity and joy: A smile, a hug, a happy thought shared; do what you can to give joy and be a positive presence to those you meet. Many are harried, stressed and worried. Some are struggling emotionally, financially and even spiritually. Your uplifting words, your shared happiness and the joy you bring can help them to have hope that things will get better for them too.
You have a great deal of power and influence. It only takes one person to change someone’s world. You own these powerful gifts and they are yours to share and give away. You can make a difference in someone’s holiday by giving freely to those you meet.