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The Real Gifts to Give, Part 1

Black Friday. . . Cyber Monday. . .to some, the launch of the holiday shopping season sounds fun and light-hearted; to others, it just feels like they’re headed toward Debtors’ Wednesday.

Now, don’t get me wrong–I have been known to delight in the challenge to find the right gift to fit the right person. However, that delight can quickly turn to aggravation when I have no friggin’ clue about what to give, especially to people who are important and meaningful in my life. I can look at all the Brookstone, Best Buy,  Target and TJ ads I want, but too often, my reaction is “eh.” Translation: not so hot–and not much meaning.

So as we launch into the shop-silly time of year called “the holidays,” it strikes me as a good time to rethink the gifts we can give all around. Here are the first two I’ve decided to give.

1. The Gift of Showing Up

One thing I’ve learned is that sometimes, just showing up in person is meaningful.  I’ll never forget the look on my colleagues’ faces when I’ve visited in the hospital, attended their parent’s funerals, or arrived to celebrate their accomplishments.

I didn’t always know this; I’d tell myself, “They don’t need me there,” or “I’m really too busy to make time to go in person–I’ll call next week instead.” But I’ve found that presence is powerful, even if there’s no “doing”–no work created, value delivered, or change initiated.

This holiday, you can give the gift of showing up. Offering to meet for coffee instead of making a phone call can make a huge difference to an overwhelmed friend, job seeker, or frustrated colleague. Walking over to their office from yours can open up loads of new ideas, connections, or just make it easier to exchange a hug or a smile. Showing up is something that people notice and appreciate. And it fits in your budget.

2. The Gift of Perspective

From time to time, a savvy friend of mine catches me holding back on my opinions and ideas, in a well-meaning but eventually bland effort to try not to offend anyone. And she zings me on it. And I appreciate her for it!

I’ve recognized that I do have something to say, and I will always have a point-of-view. When it’s needed, I give the gift of my perspective, because I’ve formed it carefully and trust it immensely. However, it comes with a safety switch–you’re free to take it and use it, or just thank me and ignore it (like you did the Justin Bieber socks I gave you last year.)

Who could benefit from the gift of your perspective? Where are you holding back your wisdom and knowledge for fear of butting in, saying too much, being inappropriate? Why not offer “I’ve noticed your current situation of [whatever it is]. I have a perspective on the situation that I think may help. If if would be useful to you, I’d be happy to share it and you can take it or leave it from there.”

Watch for my other gifts to give in my next blog post!

What are the gifts you’re giving this year? Tell us about it by replying in the box below, or visiting us on Facebook.

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