It’s that gift-giving time a year, and sometimes that causes stress for people. We worry about finding the ideal present at the perfect price. We fret about size, fit, and if the recipient will love what we are giving them. And we may question if we spend too much or too little and if the gifts we ship will arrive in time.
Anne Frank wrote, “No one has ever become poor by giving” because we receive so much when we share gifts with others. Let’s explore 12 of the best gifts you can give anyone during this holiday season or any time of year…and with the exception of one, they won’t cost you any money.
Gifts You Can Give Anyone Any Time and Every Time
- Time. “It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time,” said Steve Jobs. But it is amazing how little of it we spend with those we love. Children spend more hours in school and sleep and adults at work and sleep than we do with each other. So setting aside time on a regular basis to connect with others is a great gift. It says to the other person, “You are important. You matter to me. And I’m willing to devote time to our relationship.
- Talents. “We are born with gifts and talents, which we discover over time through new experiences. Talents invigorate our lives, incite our passions, allowing our authenticity to shine,” writes Elizabeth Isaacs. When we share our talents with someone else, we share a bit of ourselves. If you are talented at baking, teach someone else how or make something homemade that they will love. If your talent is music, share that passion and allow others to experience the beauty in your creation or playing. Our talents are uniquely ours. Yes, many people can play music or bake but only you have the combination of talents that are deep within. Share your talents and shine your light so that others may enjoy them, too.
- Skills. Philosopher John Ruskin called skill a “unified force of experience, intellect, and passion.” Skills are what we acquire, adapt, and refine over the course of our lives. Many, many people can use the skills you have and would love to be gifted with your time and skills. For examples, nonprofits always need able volunteers to be on their boards, to work their events, to hold key positions in law, financial management, strategy, etc. And your elderly neighbors could probably use whatever skills you have to gift them, such as running errands, shoveling snow, driving them to a doctor’s appointment, or even making them some food in individual serving sizes.
- Friendship. “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give,” writes Kahlil Gibran. Being a friend to someone means that you listen to them, are there for them, and that you grant them your time, energy, and care. Everyone in life can use another friend or two, someone who connects with them and loves them, whether from close proximity or from afar—since in our modern digital age friendship is not reliant on frequent in-person visits.
- Wisdom. Confucius said we learn wisdom by reflection, imitate on, and experience. These three are unique to each of us so we are all wise about a variety of life things. How can you share your wisdom and knowledge with someone else? Does someone you know need the gift of help with their taxes, or a fence rebuilt, or social media management, or a minor household repair completed? Use what you know to help enrich someone else’s space and life.
- A Listening Ear. “One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone,” writes Shannon L. Adler. In a world filled with distractions, giving someone your time and attention while keeping your mouth closed is a rare event. Someone you know needs someone to sit quietly and hear them out. To listen. Maybe they need advice, but maybe they don’t. Maybe they just need the comfort and gift of someone being there for them while they pour out their heart so they can heal. Taking the time to listen and really hear is the most powerful communication tool we have, and it is the best way for two people to connect.
- Jim Rohn called attention one of the greatest gifts you can give anyone. In these days of multi-tasking and continually engagement with our electronic devices, the best gift we can bestow on someone else is eye contact and putting our phones away. Be present with someone, even if you are sitting silently together. Giving someone your attention lets them know they matter and that they are loved.
- Resources. Most of us have so much…of…well, so much. We have plenty of clothes, a roof over our heads, free time, food choices, and money beyond what we need for our basic necessities. Paul Stanley said, “When you’re in a position to have gotten so much, the gift at this point is in giving back.” We can gift any of our resources to others to share our abundance and help others meet their needs. Look around where you live. Where is the need? Oftentimes vet offices and animal shelters need old towels and blankets. Food pantries need shelf stable items. Shelters need toiletries and clothes. Needs are endless so our opportunities to give gifts are too.
- Understanding. Every human on the planet wants to feel like someone gets them. It’s part of the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs of connection. By taking the time to listen to someone and let them know they are being heard, you transmit to them understanding. “Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.” Roy T. Bennett
- Compassion. Life can be very rough and sometimes people feel battered and bruised by it. Showing care and kindness can make a difference in how someone feels and how they respond to circumstances and others. “A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal,” said Steve Maraboli
- Empathy. Tied to compassion and understanding, empathy is when you let someone know you don’t just get it but you’ve been there and so you can relate. Meryl Streep said, “The greatest gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy.”
- Laughter. Mark Twain called laughter the only really effective weapon of the human race, and many of us have been taught it is the best medicine. Laughter lifts our spirits, it warms our hearts, and it helps us to not take ourselves and life so seriously. Sharing laughter with a friend or stranger is a precious gift.
In A.A. Milne’s beloved children’s classic, Winnie-the-Pooh tells Piglet that “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” By giving these 12 gifts to everyone you know and meet, you can touch their hearts in ways a commercially bought gift may never.
Happy holidays from Whole Champion Foundation to you. We are grateful for you.