It’s a crazy time of year. People are running about trying to capture the spirit of holiday season. Christmas is on Friday and I’d like to share several gifts that you can give this holiday season. Try these ideas out for the next several weeks and see what happens. These simple gifts can make a huge difference in the world.
Christmas is a very special time of year in our home. My grandmother was born on Christmas day. Our families always went out of the way to make it special for everyone. I was given several gifts that have lasted for my lifetime. I was hoping to pass these treasured gifts on to you as well.
The first Christmas gift was to learn to love one another. No matter how stressed out we were, we worked very hard to enjoy our time together. In a family full of passionate people with many different views of the world, it was not unheard of that we might have a friendly debate around the most important issues of the day.
The gift we were given is we loved each other enough to let the other person express their opinions at the Christmas dinner. From sharing new ideas and political opinions, to sharing stories that would inspire us to make a larger contribution to the world. These early holiday meal discussions created the foundation that would help us develop our unique gifts to the fullest extent possible.
We learned how to discuss things in a civilized manner no matter how emotionally charged the topics might be. It didn’t matter how contentious the topic or who was bringing it to the table, all got a fair hearing at our family dinner. This first gift still serves me well today when I do business for clients around the world, many of whom can be a bit combative in how they share their ideas.
The second Christmas gift was to always look for opportunities to do random acts of kindness. It wasn’t enough for our families to be doing well, it was crucial that we helped others when we could. We learned ways to help others without embarrassing them. My mother was Secret Santa before it was cool. No matter where her mental illness took her, she would always finding ways of providing for others at the holidays.
There were many holiday meals spent with people we didn’t know but someone had met them and through their discussions we discovered that they didn’t have a place to go for the holiday. We have had some of the most fascinating men and women over for our holiday meal. Their stories have provided gifts that have lasted a lifetime. So look for opportunities to commit random acts of kindness over this holiday season.
The third Christmas gift is to find joy where you are and who you’re with. In a society filled with more than enough activities to keep us busy, it’s critical to enjoy wherever you find yourself. My many military friends and first responders taught me this many years ago. No matter where they are and what they are doing they find time to enjoy their time with others in the moment. They appreciate each other and many others find their best stories come from the most challenging times of their lives. They understand the value of community to create lifelong friendships.
My father had a habit of working on every Christmas and Thanksgiving after I turned 12. At the time I didn’t understand it. Why would he leave his loved ones on the holidays? To be honest, it took me many years to understand why leaders choose to do this for others. But it’s the essence of serving others that allowed me to help develop other serving leaders today.
He did this because he wanted younger men and women to have time with their families for Christmas and other holidays. He had learned it from a commanding officer and continued the tradition for many years afterwards. He believed it was critical during the early years of the family to create memories that would last a lifetime.
His down to earth wisdom has served me well over my lifetime. I can still remember all my early Christmases and Thanksgivings we shared together. This lasting lesson has provided me timeless gifts and memories even long after our family members are gone.
To receive your final Christmas gift, go over to our sister publication Market Leadership Journal on Wednesday where I give you the most treasured gift I can give you this holiday season.
Have a Merry Christmas this Friday! See you next week where we jumpstart 2016 early. You’ll want to be here.