Hurray, the Holiday Season has Finally Arrived! That festive time of year has come again- full of holiday cheer, Christmas music, sparkling decorations, and of course… presents. With holiday retail sales in the United States for 2014 estimated to be around $619 billion we are all looking for those perfect gifts. Most people know that “giving the right gift to a person […] can send a powerful message of thanks, appreciation, and encouragement.” (The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace) But what if there was a better present that showed we cared?
When you find that perfect gift for that perfect person the stars align and the gratitude, love, and holiday energy flourish. These gifts are the ones that prove you know that person deeply. They are the gifts that prove you listen, prove you care, and prove you think about them often. It’s not about the money, but about the thought. It can be the small unicorn stone my father gave me when I was 10 (which I still have) or the priceless box my brother handmade with my favorite quote and symbols. And while these gifts leave a lasting impression on our hearts, it is what led them to these presents that makes them truly gift worthy… their presence.
In those moments when we are fully present is when we “help [others] feel valued, to feel connected with the larger purpose…” (The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace). Those are the moments where our cherished relationships continue to thrive and where we have the opportunity to ignite each other.
So what if we set aside our distractions during these important holiday moments? What if we waited to send that tweet, share a Facebook status, or Instagram that perfect moment? What if we looked up from our phones, stopped incessantly checking our email, and weren’t worried about who just got engaged or who’s baby looks the cutest in their first Christmas outfit? How about instead we give a gift of our “presence” to the ones we care about. Why not share experiences, conversation, and fellowship in the present moment, which will enrich the relationships we claim are important?
What would happen? I challenge us to not just find value in the tangible gifts we provide to one another but rather recognize the value we provide others through the gift of our presence.
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