5 Gifts that don't cost money
This time of year can be full of joy and abundance in many ways for many people, for some it can cause pressure to complete, and for others it's a time of loneliness and struggle.
And while most of us would love to shower lavish treats on those we love, it might be that the financial budget just won't support that, or we may stretch ourselves spending credit we don't have, only to pay the price later in more ways than one.
So how can you show someone you care at this time of year without forking out cash?
Here are 5 gifts that you can give at any time of year that won't cost you dollars, and might just mean the world to someone you care about:
1. Give your Time.
Just sitting with someone helping them nut out a challenge, or having a long leisurely chat over a cuppa without looking at your watch or phone, is a true gift. Just being with someone can boost their emotional state and your own.
And there is plenty of research to suggest that what children want most from parents and carers, above any fancy toy you could buy, is your time, and that they will remember more than anything the memories of time spent together.
Play a game THEY want to play for a whole afternoon, even an old fashioned board game around the table. That will be a gift to remember.
2. Give your Energy.
When you're facing a task that can seem overwhelming, and/or could be physically demanding, like cleaning up the garden, de-cluttering rooms or packing to move house, how great is it when people offer to give you a hand - AND they really mean it!?
When people show up with their energy and positive focus, and help you get stuck into something, it helps your physical and mental motivation and state, and it is absolutely true that a problem shared is a problem halved, and many hands make much lighter work.
It makes sense when considering Gary Chapman's 5 Love Languages, that 'Acts of Service' rates higher than 'Physical touch' or 'Receiving Gifts.' Giving your muscles and energy is also good for your heart in more ways than one.
3. Give your full Presence.
While you can be physically with someone, in the same room or the same car, or even in the same bed, when was the last time you really gave someone your full attention, really listening to what they have to say, without judging, without butting in, without focusing on what you are going to say next?
Fully focusing on someone allows them to feel truly heard and seen. Allow that person to tell their stories and reminisce, and when they stop talking, ask a leading question like, 'tell me more', or 'what happened then?' and watch them light up as they continue to own the communication space.
Although this can be a tough one, to forgive is one of the greatest gifts you can give -mostly to yourself.
We have all felt wronged and hurt by the words and actions of others, and this could have happened last week, last year or decades ago.
We all have wounds that can leave us with lasting anger and bitterness, and if we don't practice forgiveness, we will be the one who pays the most, with interest - physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Forgiveness is a heavy burden to carry, one which doesn't seem to make sense for us to do, and it takes courage. If you want to give yourself the gift of forgiveness, you can explore one writers suggested 7 steps to forgiveness here.
5. Express your Love and Gratitude
How many times do you hear the story of someone who never got the chance to tell someone how they really felt.
We have so many thoughts running through our minds and some of them are positive things we notice or feel about the important people in our lives, but we don't say those things out loud, or the moment passes. Or we are afraid of letting our emotions out.
Make a point before the end of this year to tell at least 3 important people in your life how you feel about them. Tell them that you love them, or what you love about them, or how you feel about them, or something about them that you feel grateful for.
That comment might just be the thing that brightens up their day or their year! And you'll feel good too. There's never a better time to express your gratitude than right now, and emotions are such healing things to share. Shedding tears out of happiness or sadness is good for us.