The Greatest Gift: What They REALLY Want for Christmas


“The most wonderful time of the year” is here, marked by scrumptious dinners and desserts, snowmen, ribbons, lights, ugly sweaters — so many good things — and… STRESS! 

I was just talking with my mom a couple of days ago and she outlined their schedule for the next few weeks:

  • This weekend we’ll do outdoor lights and decorations…
  • Next weekend we’ll do indoor lights and decorations…
  • The next weekend we’ll do the Christmas shopping…
  • Then the next weekend I’ll bake Christmas goodies…

Sound familiar? Yikes!

It’s unfortunate that what should be “the most wonderful time of the year” often becomes the most stressful time of the year, and if we’re not careful we find ourselves in “survival mode” rather than in “celebration mode.”

Shopping for gifts is undoubtedly one of the big stressors — whether because we’re navigating the traffic and the crowds, or because we’re trying to find those perfect gifts for the people we care about — so let me reveal the hot gift for this year, and you don’t even have to go anywhere to buy it. As a matter of fact, you can’t buy it. You can only give it.

Are you ready?

“If you love someone, the greatest gift you can give them is your presence.”

That’s wisdom from Vietnamese Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh — and I think it’s a reminder we all need as the holiday pace picks up.

The greatest gift you can give is your presence - Thich Nhat Hanh
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I was shocked to read over the weekend that people in the United States spend about $450 billion in the month of December, much of which is tagged as “holiday spending.”

We buy gifts for employees, coworkers, family, friends, teachers, delivery people — and it’s wonderful to give.

But it made me think: How many of your past Christmas (or holiday) gifts are you still enjoying? My favorite gift from last year didn’t even make it through the year!

In contrast, how many holiday memories involving people — whether at home or at work — still bring you joy?

It’s the people who make this season special, and it’s the people we are likely to miss if we get caught up in all the frenetic activity.

I’m not telling you not to buy any “fun stuff” for the holidays. I’m certainly not telling you to hold back the Christmas bonus (unless you want this to happen).

I’m just reminding all of us — myself included — to keep our focus on what matters most this holiday season.

Today, this week, this month, as you cross paths with others, “be here” with them and for them. You’ll be giving them a gift that lasts forever… and exactly how much it’s worth, you may never know.

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