Think about the best gifts you’ve given in terms of not just physical or material things, but also the gifts you may have given of yourself and your time. We only have one life on this earth, and I really believe it’s important to give of your talents and volunteer where you can to make the world a kinder, nicer and better place to live.
I had so much fun growing up participating in bowl-a-thons to raise money for various charities. I remember the walk-a-thons we would do in school that often turned into run-a-thons as people wanted to see who were the fastest at completing the 6.2 miles. Often for Christmas we will pick out a family or two that we know may not have a lot of money and offer to buy the children a few of their special wants just to make them feel the love and warmth of the holiday season.
The holidays and birthdays I remember best had nothing to do with what I received as presents. What mattered most is the people who came to the gatherings, to share in the celebrations and taking their time out of their day to appreciate me. I’ve never been one for the spotlight, so I enjoyed the conversations with my friends, my aunts and uncles, my grandparents, my cousins and the cookouts, the baseball games, the basketball games as well as the footballs to the face (I’m still alive to tell the tale).
My oldest daughter this year for Father’s Day made a special gift for me recognizing the fact that I may not have been her birth father- yet she wanted me to know that in her heart, I am the only father that she’s ever known. She had a friend of the family take her feet and shrink them down to baby size, and put a special poem with the picture of her feet. Yes, a tear came to my eye, as I never expected my daughter to put such care into that day- one that as she gets older probably gets tougher for her to handle.
It’s the little touches that matter most to me. When someone pays attention to the interests and hobbies in my life and then thinks of a book or bowling accesories or a special album I may want, that makes me feel important. Paying attention to what your family and friends like should give you a wealth of ideas to think about through the year for that special gift. Often an experience will matter more than a material product- you can take a person out for dinner to their favorite restaurant, you can think of a concert or play they’ve wanted to attend but wouldn’t go out of their way to go to, you could give them an experience where they can feel free to pamper themselves.
I was watching a video excerpt from a seminar Mark Victor Hansen did for a Mega Speaking weekend and he mentioned the following quote: “Create a diversifed portfolio of treasured memories.” When it comes down to what will be remembered most through the years, the fullest and deepest memories will not be necessarily the red bikes, the dollhouses, or the latest electronic device you wanted. It will be the thought and care the people that gave the gifts put behind their giving- or the way your family made your birthday and other holidays so spectacular and special.
Give your personal best in everything you do. It’s the greatest gift in the world and will return to you in abundance. Let me know about your best gifts throughout life, or any special holiday memories you would love to share.