There are too many adverts on TV, trying to coerce me with their pretty colours and catchy jingles, into spending a small fortune on gifts for Christmas. A part of me is still a marketer’s dream (who doesn’t like treating themselves and those they love to something lavish every so often?) This Christmas, however, I’m not buying into this indoctrination.
Call me “Scrooge”, but after a year of craziness, I have discovered something money can’t buy. Inside life’s treasure chest dwell a few precious gems with a priceless tag. So whilst Mastercard may be able to supposedly buy everything outside that scope this Christmas, these figurative jewels leave a much longer-lasting feeling of happiness – and isn’t that what we all want to feel, at the end of the day? That is why we spend so much money on those expensive items we “need”. Because we’re not just buying the item, we’re buying the emotion behind it.
Nevertheless, that emotion, as highly desired as it is, need not be bought. So forget flicking through catalogues and watching hypnotic TV ads. Instead, gather around and discover 8 valuable gifts that don’t cost a thing…
- The Gift of Compassion – The empathetic understanding of others’ vicissitudes. Practice this by healing your old wounds, gathering alternative perceptions, listening attentively and by reflecting on what you’ve learned.
- The Gift of Kindness – Present the world with a generous, approachable and considerate nature. Practice this by giving to others, checking in with people, offering your time and abilities to those in need, or simply being mindful of the world around you.
- The Gift of Understanding – “To err is human, to forgive is divine” And forgivness is a big part of understanding. People are complex creatures, and why we do what we do may not always have a simple answer. So practice this emotion with sympathetic awareness and tolerance of these challenging circumstances.
- The Gift of Patience – Remaining peaceful without complaint. Potential provocation can arise from both man or machine, and in a busy world, these things can come in abundance. So practice patience by identifying the triggers, pushing yourself to stay composed in those moments and creating other activities to accomplish during those time. This will help reframe your mind and slow down your pace.
- The Gift of Time – Many definitions enrobe this untouchable word. Put simply, time is the measure and continued progress of existence – past, present and future. Giving someone your time is one of the most wholesome and kind things you can do. Practice this by expanding it beyond your friendship circle and devote it to volunteering, or to charities surrounding loneliness. Whether it’s in-person or at the end of a phone, be an ear to bend for those that need it most.
- The Gift of Trust – Believing firmly in the truth, reliability and ability of someone is important in building strong relationships. Practice this with honest communication, honouring your word, realising that trust takes time to build, expressing your gratitude to those who have earned your trust and – possibly the most challenging practice – admitting when you’re wrong. Like a ribbon, all of these pieces, when tied together, make trust an incredibly cherished and long-lasting gift.
- The Gift of Loyalty – People pleasing is not the aim here. This is a quality of support and commitment, and can be actioned either between people or causes. Practice this by being authentic to yourself, your beliefs and others. Respect others and the right to their perspectives. Stand up for those who are suffering injustice – have their back – and stick around though thick and thin. Not all times will be easy, but aim to invest your support and faith in the person or cause throughout.
- The Gift of Honesty – Integral to the veracity of your word is truth. Every part of these other gifts relies on your ability to be genuine. Practicing this is simple but also the most important. Be candid, morally upstanding and honourable in all of your endeavours.
Even better still, none of these gifts need wrapping – hooray! Nevertheless, if you do know someone that you can craft one of these gifts to in the shape of a physical present, make sure it’s meaningful to them and your friendship. The best presents aren’t always the most expensive ones. They’re the ones that carry feeling, like handmade or personalised treats. So, this Christmas, do things a little differently and encompass these traits into something special, giving generously with only your heart ❤