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This time of year brings about an abundance of gift giving, although giving gifts is something we do year round. The thoughts and ideas in this article are applicable in all gifting circumstances, no matter how unique of common the occasion.

Photo Credit: Elezabeth Jose https://fineartamerica.com/featured/christmas-in-the-snow-elizabeth-jose.html

This holiday season has been unique in that I find myself in a bit of a gift giving conundrum. It is now less than a week before Christmas and I haven’t purchased a single gift. Part of it is because my focus has been on shifting into my new mobile way of life rather than holiday gifts and part of it is because I’d rather give my loved ones experiences than material gifts. Interestingly my intuition about gifting meshes together perfectly with the science around value, gifts, and happiness. Hopefully you’ll find this as interesting as I do.

On Material “Stuff”

In the last week I have built friendships with many “everyday people” that happen to live and travel full time in their trailers. If you met them at Starbucks, you’d never guess their lifestyle was so different than most people. They have jobs, they have families, they have pets, they wear normal clothes… they seem average. Although, how they live is not typical at all.

What impressed me most was the simplicity and quality of their “stuff.” One couple, Chad and Rebekah, are in their 30s and have been living in their 25 foot Airstream with their dog “Dijon” for two and a half years. Their trailer was spotless and minimalist- it looked like a showroom model: beautiful, no clutter, and only the essentials. They invited me to ride to dinner with them and I sat comfortably in the back seat of their Toyota Tundra, which was clean and free of clutter. In fact, most people who have houses and garages have more in their backseat than Chad and Rebekah. They are extremely happy, travel freely, and love life… All the while owning very few material things. After meeting so many people that live for experiences while owning very little, I am realizing more and more that gifts of experience are far better than material things.

Gift Giving

Back to gifts—Gifts can be material things, experiences, a kind word or even a gentle hug at just the right time. Your complete presence and a listening ear are also gifts. BUT…. Most people would think that you were quite strange (and cheap) if you wrapped yourself in a bow and presented your “presence” to a loved one as their gift! So, let’s give gifts!! Gift giving research shows the benefits of giving experiences is monumental compared to giving material items.

Why experiences? When considering why we give gifts, there are many reasons. One of the fundamental reasons is to connect and foster relationships. Science Daily suggests: “People often struggle with the challenge of choosing what to give someone. If you want to give them something that will make them feel closer to you, give an experience.”  Another idea: Make it an experience that involves you and your loved one! Depending on your relationship and logistics, sharing the experience could up the gift giving ante even more for both the giver and the receiver.

Deciding What to Give

If you’d like to give an experience, but now wonder what to give, here are some ideas: What does your loved one enjoy doing, but rarely treats themselves to? What are his/her hobbies? What is something they have always wanted to do? What is a new or exciting experience you can share with them?

Examples Ideas:

  • A gift certificate to a movie, play, or concert and a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant: Your loved one can treat themselves and their special someone to a night on the town.
  • Gift them a skydiving experience, kayak or canoe rental, a gym membership, a museum pass, or tour of an art gallery.
  • Maybe they love to read: Consider eBook certificates, a year’s subscription to their favorite magazine, or internet membership site.
  • For families: tickets to a theme park, adventure course, or an annual state or national park pass.
  • For kids: A pizza party at an entertainment facility. A day at the beach or the park for them and 3-5 of their friends (you can provide their favorite picnic lunch too).

The possibilities are limitless! What ideas do you have? Please post them in the comments below.

Wrapping it All Up

We’ve all heard the old adage “it’s better to give than to receive.” Now we may have to add: “It’s better to give and receive experiences than anything else at all.” In the big scheme of things we all want to experience joy and happiness: We want to be happy and we want our loved ones to be happy. What constitutes happiness is different for everyone.

One thing is for sure: happiness doesn’t come from things. I love the saying “The most important things in life aren’t things.” Fostering and deepening relationships is one of the most important things in life. We each express love in our own unique way. Gifts are just one of the many expressions of love. This holiday season (and for the rest of your days): Give love. When choosing your gifts, be creative. Love what you give and give what they love… no matter what that might be.

Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Festivus, or anything else — I hope you have a very happy holiday filled with connections, love, and joy.

 

… until the next revolution

 

A Gift of an Offer

On the subject of experiences, there are two life changing group coaching programs on offer to you. In the spirit of the holidays, we are offering a semi private group coaching session to the next five people that register for either of the programs. So if you are considering joining, now is a great time.

Grow Your Business — Create Your Future Begins April 3rd

Do you want to transform your passion into profit? Whether you are a new entrepreneur, launching your business or a seasoned business owner looking to take your business to the next level, this program is for you. With a combination of group and one-on- one coaching, small group discussions and reflective exercises this program covers all the bases. Discover the ease by which you can point yourself in the “right” direction for success in business and life all the while receiving support and guidance along the way. Register Here

 

Creative Living: A Deep Look into the Design of Life Begins April 17th

In this interactive group program, we will dive into identifying what you really want and pointing yourself in that direction with intention, clarity and heart. We will explore simple truths that can help guide you effortlessly toward more success: in your life, health, career, retirement – anything & everything. You’ll unravel the maze of your thinking and learn to trust your own innate wisdom in every part of your life. If you want to do what you love and love what you do, this program is for you! Register Here

Gifts—what comes to mind? “Gift” has so many meanings and each one of us has a slightly different interpretation.  Before reading further, take a moment to note what thoughts the word “Gifts” brings up within you- there is no right or wrong answer.

Alright, now let’s explore “gifts” and I’d love to hear more about your thoughts, feelings, and ideas in the comments!

Giving Gifts

Christmas Gifts

My Tree- The tiny bike is for my 3 year old niece and it is sooo cute, like a puppy! I love having it in my living room and can’t wait for her to enjoy it.

Particularly during this time of year, gifts are given and received: material goods, like a bicycle or a sweater; experiences, for instance a skydiving adventure or a weekend getaway; money;  services, such as a gift certificate for a massage or an offering to give someone a ride; and more!

In giving and receiving gifts, both sides benefit. Oftentimes the giver gets even more of a rush that the receiver. How do things change when you give a gift to a complete stranger? Watch this 2 minute video and notice the joy and exhilaration being experienced… and notice who seems to be experiencing the most pronounced joy and happiness.  Take note of this: How did you feel while watching that video?? You were watching strangers, most likely in a different continent, and the actual exchanges happened in 2015. BUT- Chances are you experienced a nice feeling watching the exchanges. This brings up another point, observers also benefit from seeing others give and receive.

Giving is good for your health!  In fact, we experience a release of endorphins which mimics a low level hit of morphine when we give. This is commonly referred to as “Helpers High.” Whether your gift is opening the door for an elderly person or giving a million dollars to charity, the benefit is there for the giver, the receiver, and observers.

Let’s go a bit further in this journey into the meaning of “Gift.”

Being a Gift

You are a gift. You have gifts. You may not fully know what your gifts are, but the gifts are there. They have been there all along. It’s a matter of letting them blossom.  An extreme example of “Being a Gift” is Derek Paravicini, one of the most amazing pianists of all time.

Here is a quick rundown about Derek by Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes:

“Derek is a masterful musician, who is blind, with disabilities so severe he can’t tell his right hand from his left or hold anything but the simplest of conversations… We started following Derek because of his gift at the piano, but it is what he taught us about relationships, communication, and what music is really all about that’s kept us coming back… Derek is a musical savant, blessed with an island of extreme talent in a sea of profound disability.”

This youtube clip tells his story. I invite you to plan a time in your day to take 15 minutes to watch the clip and experience Derek’s story- It is well worth the watch.

How many “Dereks” are out there in the world? My guess is there are millions. Millions of people have yet to discover the extraordinary gift that is lying dormant inside. What if no one was there to support Derek as his gift emerged? His gift might not have blossomed and forever been a secret—a potential unrealized. Also, he may have ended up in a facility as a stranger to the world with his gift trapped inside. We all would have missed out!

This is the kicker: Just like Derek, you have a gift. You have many gifts! Everyone does. Imagine what the world would be like if absolutely everyone realized their gift and lived a life in service of that gift. The world needs people that have realized their genius, have come alive, and are being a gift to the world!Snowflake- You are Unique!

“The part you are to play is as unique and beautiful as a snow flake… And one only you can fill.”

-Jane Lee Logan

 

You may be wondering: “Ok, but how do I find my gift and help others realize theirs?” The answer: It is already there… relax… notice.

Living in the Space of Noticing Gifts

Simply stated, there are gifts all around you.  Consider all the “gifts” mentioned above: gifts we give and receive, gifts we observe being exchanged between others, special gifts people have yet to realize within themselves, your gifts you bring to the world, and more.

Notice the gifts everywhere—even the simple ones like a sunny day, a relaxing rainy day, or the serenity of falling snow. When you purposefully begin to practice noticing gifts, gifts appear.

Notice the happy outcome that arose out of a situation you initially thought of as unpleasant, the emotion in a dog’s smile, or the gratitude for the tiny gifts that pop up throughout your day.

In the last few months I have met and built relationships with several amazing people—all of whom have incredible stories and huge untapped potential just waiting to be set free. If I had met these same people a couple of years ago, they may not have seemed so special to me. However, they have always been special, I just didn’t notice it—the world has not changed, I have changed how I perceive the world.  You can too.

Life is a work in progress. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies. Although, the more we notice gifts (people, situations, material gifts, the gifts each person has within, thoughts, feelings, opportunities, possibilities) the more we have available to give.

As you enjoy this holiday season, give gifts, be a gift, and notice the gifts all around you.

What are your thoughts, feelings, and ideas? I, and may others, welcome your comments.

 

…. Until the next revolution.

 

 

2017 is just around the corner. Start the year off by treating yourself to the gift of discovering what is next for you. Apply for a complimentary strategy session– realize your possibilities!

 

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