Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Little Prince famously proclaimed, “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they must be felt with the heart.”
If you are scrambling last minute for gift ideas, pause for a moment to consider a gift that will be more enduring than anything that arrives in a box on your doorstep or can be purchased in a store. While tradition may still demand an actual purchase, consider giving one of these gifts to yourself or someone else.
1. Forgive someone. We are experts at critiquing the lives and shortcomings of others while at times being blind to our own. Forgiveness can be a lengthy and complicated process, but what would it mean to take one step toward greater forgiveness something that’s been done to you? Or self-forgiveness for something you have done or left undone?
2. Show compassion. We can become ironically self-absorbed in the fast pace of holidays that promote peace and joy. We may be more irritable, less patient. At some point in the next week, really stop. Stop to see someone else’s perspective, need, or struggle. Do what you can to help.
3. Practice moderation. Many indulge in food, shopping, drinking, or some other vice knowing that New Year’s Resolutions are not yet here and stress is upon us. Give yourself (and others) the gift of choices you will not regret later. Experiment with new, invigorating ways to experience fun and relaxation.
4. Use time wisely. As you begin your day, write down what means the most to you and is most consistent with your values and then prioritize and limit it. Don’t let the holidays fly by with an endless to-do list consuming your time and energy.
5. Let it go. What do you need to let go of? Consider that it can be liberating to choose not to need to have your way in every circumstance. Save your energy for the most important matters, and let go of minor disputes or even long-term annoyances that do more harm than good to continue.
6. Be in solitude. Find some time and space to be in solitude in order to reflect, meditate, or pray. Slow down to connect with others and with God, and take note of your own thoughts and feelings. An energized and refreshed version of you will be a gift to others, too.
7. Rest. Take some time off of work, whether it’s office work, home work, school work. Take a nap. Sleep in. At least sit down and slow down. Rest. If you push yourself constantly, it will take a toll on your physical and emotional well being eventually.
I wish you an energizing and joy-filled Christmas with many lasting gifts exchanged.