The holidays are upon us! The plurality of that word is important: for some, it means Christmas; for others, Hanukkah. Still others understand it as the time for Kwanzaa, or Ramadan, or Winter Solstice. But whatever the holiday may be, there is a common thread shared by everyone this time of year, and that is the spirit of giving.
I’m not talking about the commercial side of holiday giving. There are many ways to give and many reasons to do so.
Each of us has at least three “things” we can give:
Money (Whether in the form of a gift or dollars), Time, and Thanks
Money. This doesn’t need extensive exploration. It’s a renewable resource. If we have it we can give it or spend it on others; be they strangers (traditional food donations, toys for needy children and the Salvation Army bell ringers come to mind), or family and friends.
Time. The holiday season for many of us is a very busy time full of planning, shopping, decorating, entertaining, cooking, baking… the list goes on and on… and all of this in addition to our already hectic lives. Time is a difficult gift for most of us. We have so little of it; it’s non-renewable – in fact it is our most precious resource. Giving time: To strangers as a volunteer at a shelter, to a board of a charity, to your aged aunt or uncle or parents taking them to an appointment, reading to a child so they might learn the vast and diverse worlds available in books, to your significant other to re-kindle the spark. Time is a special gift.
Most of us have a budget for gifts; be they charity or otherwise. Think about budgeting your time. Write down a list of who will you give time to, when, and how much? Then spend it throughout the year.
Thanks. Thanks is the most renewable resource we have to give – it costs us nothing and yet so often we are stingy as if in giving it we were using up some finite resource. Or, maybe we’re just lazy.
The unstated benefit of a thank-you is the feeling you give to others. Saying thanks and giving thanks cannot be underestimated. And should not be underdone. The power of a sincere “thanks” cannot be measured.
How often do you thank the people closest to you for their daily support? Your children for just being? Your employees for the quality of their work?
More than half of employees in a recent survey, 55%, said they were never or rarely thanked for their efforts. Conversely, 35% said they were thanked frequently at work.
This e-mail poll of 1,002 people also revealed that colleagues are much more likely to say thanks than managers — 84% said they express gratitude to a co-worker daily or frequently.
And, what about customers? When was the last time you thanked someone for buying from you or even considering your product?
I frequently fly Southwest Airlines. Every single time my flight is about to land, the Captain thanks me for flying Southwest because he knows I could have chosen a competitor. I like that!
It’s the holidays. Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember to say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side. Remember to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent. Remember, to say, “I love you” to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
I want to thank everyone reading this article for their time and for giving us mind-share when we know you’re overloaded. Now write out your list of people you give holiday gifts to and be sure to include time and thanks in your list of presents for them.