Five Little Gifts That Keep on Giving

There are probably a million little things we can give away which are gifts that keep on giving. Today I am only going to share five.

My dad and I used to share a little tradition. Each year I would give him a book that was different genre or author or literary style than the ones he would normally pick out for himself. Each year he would read it, no matter what he thought of the title or the cover, and then he would give it to me. I always told him it was the gift that kept on giving because then I would read it and donate it. I miss that tradition, but not as much as I miss Dad.

I also shared many traditions with my sister. One of my favorites we didn't do every year, but we did it many years. We would go shopping together and buy something for our mom. We had so much fun just spending time together, but we almost always seemed to find something we wanted for ourselves. Since we were Christmas shopping for others, it was only fitting that I buy hers and she buy mine. Of course this practice only made sense to us and no one even knew we did this little, so-called, gift giving but we knew and it meant something to us. I still have some of those things I bought her to give to me and I cherish them with all my heart. Another of my memories about gifts that keep on giving was the donations I make every year in her memory. I miss her so much. If it wasn't for her giving of herself her entire thirty nine years, I wouldn't be making the donations in her memory. The way I see it, that makes every donation seem like I am sharing a piece of her with the world.

I am sure, by now, you are wondering if I have already told you three of the five that made the list. Is it books? Is it traditions? Is it donations? Nope. Again, there are probably a million and I am sure everyone has their own little stories like mine. However, for this particular list, I chose the things that don't cost you a penny. I am talking about giving of yourself.

1. Smile. Oh sure, you should smile every day, but I am talking about smiling more this holiday season. Smile at people you wouldn't normally smile at. Smile at the crabby guy. Smile at the person who budged in line. Smile at the person who seems to hate their job. I am not talking about gritting your teeth at them. I am talking about a true, genuine smile that says, "We are all going through something and I am going to share this smile in hopes I lift your spirits a little today."

2. Talk. Talk to the Uber driver. Talk to the kid who isn't taking his eyes off his phone. Talk to the baby that is crying in the shopping cart. Talk to the people stranded on the side of the road and find out if they need help. Talk to your co-workers to see if they have a place to spend Christmas. Talk to the local food pantry to see if they need any donations. Talk to lift someone's spirits a little today.

3. Spend. Spend time with an elderly person. Spend time with your parents if they are still alive on this planet. Spend time playing with children. Spend time just being in the moment, taking it all in. You never know when that time is the last time you are with someone. Spend time walking in the snow or just breathing in the air around you. Spend time with a friend you always say you will get together with, but never do. Spend time lifting someone's spirits today.

4. Grow. Grow a plant. Put it in dirt and water it and nurture it and it will give you oxygen. Grow your friendships to be a mutually positive influence in each others lives and it will give you love over and over again. Grow a relationship and it will continue to give you conversations and laughter many, many days. Grow your personality to be the happiest, kindest, most encouraging, supportive person you know. Grow your body to be strong and healthy and it will carry you through life with less struggles, aches and pains. Grow your mind by reading and writing and learning as much as you can. Grow your soul by reaching down deep within yourself for what makes you feel alive and takes you to the next level of personal awareness. Grow your own way and you will lift another's spirits by your positive energy.

5. Build. Build yourself a tribe. Surround yourself with people who believe in being the change they wish to see in the world instead of complaining about the state the world is in. Surround yourself with a tribe of beautiful souls, kind hearts, active minds, brilliant conversations, joyful spirits, and laughter-lovers. Make sure the tribe you build is supportive, compassionate, honest, individuals who celebrate your successes and mourn your losses with you. Build a tribe and the tribe will build you and lift you up.

If there is one thing I know about gifts that keep on giving, it is that they do not have to cost a thing, except your time and your commitment. Shine your light wherever you are for the world to see, but make sure you look inside others and help their light shine as well.

It's the only way we can get out of the darkness we find in the world.

For everyone who has spent their precious time talking and smiling and growing with me to build me up and lift my spirits and help me shine, I want to extend a deep, heartfelt thank you.

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