Not every gift needs to cost loads of money or any money at all. Can you remember every gift your parents or relatives gave you at every Christmas since your were a child? I can’t.
What I can remember though is the love, attention and encouraging words they’ve given me throughout my life.
It is in this spirit of gift giving and warm fuzzy feelings, that I present the gifts that don’t cost anything. These presents we all want more of.
With the holidays looking quite different this year our loved ones can run the risk of feeling emotionally separated from us.
Here are some ideas of presents that won’t break the bank. The gift of:
Unfortunately physical touching may not be possible this year but you can still show affection. With the advent of video calls you can set up a standing video call or phone call date with your loved one.
Your loved ones especially elderly ones, will begin to eagerly await that daily or weekly check-in with you. Of course you can be spontaneous about it. Though spontaneity is more than acceptable, some people appreciate being able to prepare their environment for your call. Whether that be making sure that pets are fed and settled, turning off their other electronic devices, letting other people know they don’t wish to be disturbed during your call and giving you their full attention.
If you’re lucky enough to have created a social bubble where you can physically touch your loved ones, this is the time to give those extra hugs, kisses and words of affection. It maybe just what is needed to brighten up their day.
It’s often said that laughter is the best medicine and for good reason. Laughter allows endorphins, our feel good chemicals to be released. Some studies have even shown that laughter relaxes the entire body and boosts the immune system. Not bad at all during these times. Sharing funny memes and videos can brighten someone’s day. Better yet you can record funny videos of yourself, family members or your pets. Pets bring tons of joy to so many people around the world. Why not share that with your loved one?
You may not have the time or ability to make a daily phone call with your loved one. You can share voice notes with them of some funny experience you remember with them. Just make sure you understand their sense of humor. What may seem appropriate to you may be totally inappropriate to other people, so stick to neutral humorous topics.
The gift that keeps giving. When people know that you are a safe space it goes a long way in deepening your relationship with them. We all like to be heard and feel heard.
What can you do to be a better listener? Get rid of your distractions and clear your schedule. Give verbal clues that you are listening and don’t feel a need to insert your own agenda into the conversation.
….we interpret what others are saying in the best possible light…
The best listeners are those who don’t feel they need to give advice 100% of the time. Unless specifically asked to give your advice, encouraging words of love and understanding can do so much more than becoming a guru for all your loved ones’ problems.
Actively listening is part of empathy and shoring this up with the principle of charity means that you will become a safe space for your friends and family. The principle of charity in this case means we interpret what others are saying in the best possible light instead of assuming it’s meant in a negative way. You the listener should also be aware that if you’re not in the frame of mind to actively listen that’s ok too. Protecting your mental health is just as important as the mental health of the next. You don’t need always be a sounding board.
A genuine compliment spoken without trying to obtain any tangible benefit from someone is one of the best gifts to receive. Even from strangers! It doesn’t make any sense if you don’t like something to give a compliment about it to your loved one. Your insincerity may evidently show through.
If your loved one has taken up a new hobby, compliment them on the progress they’re making. Other compliments we all love to receive are : I’m grateful to know you, you have a great sense of humor, you’re so courageous.
Sincerity is the name of the game when giving compliments. You can easily find something you love about the person if you listen and observe them. Don’t give a compliment expecting to receive one in return. This defeats the whole purpose of being kind and empathetic. More likely than not the person will feel so happy from the compliment that they will also want to pass on the emotion by returning the compliment or passing it on to another loved one.
No you don’t have to be a professor or an expert in the field. However, this is the perfect time if your loved one has always loved a dish you’ve prepared, to share it with them. You can even video yourself preparing it. This also applies to cocktails. They will love it.
If you don’t cook not to fear. Maybe there is something special you do they would love to learn like a dance move, needlework or embroidery, flower arranging, how you style your hair. If you think carefully you’ll find something you can share with someone you love.
On a more practical level you may be able to either show or direct friends or family to video tutorials, which show how to do things such as changing a light bulb, fixing a faucet, putting up picture hooks, etc. Word of warning only do this if they’ve specifically asked you about this. If not it may be taken as an insult.
I hope this list has shown you that some of the best gifts don’t cost a thing and trust me they’ll be remembered for a long time after. If you can think of something you’ve given to someone which didn’t cost anything why not let me know?