It is Christmas time again, and most of us are frantically trying to think of gifts for all those special people on our shopping lists. We want gifts that are original, meaningful, and that fit our budget. Here is a unique list of 10 gift suggestions from "the large of heart and small of purse." These gifts will not cost you a dime, but that does not mean that they have no value. On the contrary, when you give one of these gifts, you are giving the most priceless gift of all: yourself.
1. The Gift of Listening. Psychologists tell us that one of the greatest things we can do for another is to listen to him. Why not give this valuable gift to those people on your list who live alone and have no one else to talk to? This means you must really listen. No interrupting, no daydreaming, no walking away, no planning your response. Just listen.
2. The Gift of Signs of Affection. Take the time to give your loved ones signs of affection. Be generous with your hugs, your kisses, your gentle squeezing of the hand, your pats on the back. Let these tiny actions demonstrate the great love you have inside of you.
3. The Gift of a Note. Write notes to your loved ones. They can be as simple as "I love you" or as creative a sonnet. Put your notes where they will surprise those special people: in his lunch, in her purse, among his socks, on her pantry shelf. Though the notes may be a surprise, the message will not.
4. The Gift of Laughter. Everyone loves to laugh. Give those you love this gift. Just cut out a cartoon, clip a joke, copy a riddle, save a clever article. Your gift will say "I love to laugh with you."
5. The Gift of the Game. Most people have at least one game they like to play, whether it be tennis or golf, poke, chest, or checkers. Offer to play your loved one's favorite game with him or her. Even if you lose, you will be a winner, because together you will have shared an experience.
6. The Gift of Doing a Favor. Do favors for those special people on your list. Help with the dishes, type up that letter, clean out the basement, shovel the snow, go to the store. This gift is made more valuable when it anticipates a request rather than when it responds to one.
7. The Gift of a Cheerful Disposition. Try to be cheerful around those you love. That means no complaining, no feeling sorry for yourself, no nasty comments, no screaming, no pessimistic predictions. Your gift of cheerfulness will be a precious gift for everyone - including yourself.
8. The Gift of Being Left Alone. There are times in our lives when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Become more sensitive to these times in others' lives. Then respond generously by giving them the gift of solitude, of privacy, of "do not disturb," of being left alone.
9. The Gift of a Compliment. Pay your loved ones compliments. A simple "You look good in blue" or "I like your hair that way" or "Good supper, Honey" can be an inestimable value to people who may fell they are being taken for granted.
10. The Gift of Prayer. Let us not forget one of the most immaterial yet valuable gifts we can give: the gift of prayer. Pray for all those people on your Christmas shopping list, and let them know that you pray for them. Praying for someone is another way of saying, "You are so special to me that I often talk to God about you."
[Source: Pamphlet: Christmas, 2007, St. Paul's Cathedral Parish, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.]