Opinion

Gifts that never go out of style | Nandell Palmer

How many of us ever truly feel satisfied with the gifts we give or receive at Christmastime? All of us are endowed with special talents and abilities, but it’s hard for many of us to be convinced of that statement.

There are certain gifts that never go out of style. Your personal gifts are very profound indeed. And don’t ever take them for granted. Use them this holiday season as blessings for others.

Here are a few examples: Visit the sick or shut-in. Cook a meal for someone outside of your family. Offer to take an elderly person shopping. Just do something for someone who doesn’t have the financial wherewithal to pay you back.

Here’s a playful exercise you could try if you have time on your hands. Place yourself under your Christmas tree and think of yourself as a gift. Imagine yourself as a store-bought product.

What words do you think promoters would use to market this product – you? Would you be described as benevolent, caring, joyful, selfless and outgoing? You be the judge.

As families scramble to purchase this gift and that for loved ones this holiday season, many are doing so on a shoestring budget. Some have no budget at all. And still others will experience the best season this year. But Christmas 2010 will come and go nonetheless.

Don’t despair, however, if you are unable to buy gifts for your family and friends like those of yesteryear. Turn that lack of tangible gifts into a Christmas that will be long remembered for years to come.

I recall Christmas 1999 in New York City, where I spent more than $7,000 on gifts for loved ones and friends. One of my nephews in particular was not fully satisfied even after receiving his brand new PlayStation, along with numerous other gifts.

Something was wrong with that picture, and I set about making a paradigm shift in the way of gift giving. I wanted to teach primarily the younger ones an invaluable lesson of giving and receiving. Was the mission accomplished? I truly cannot tell, but at least I started a change.

When my relatives gathered at my home the following year for Christmas dinner – and yes, gifts – they found no Christmas tree with dazzling lights.

Instead, just before dinner, we all sat on the living room floor in a circle. One family member was singled out at a time, and each person took turns saying something special about him or her. Not one negative word was uttered.

After spending about an hour doing this positive-affirming exercise, we rose from the floor misty eyed and repaired to the dining table to chow down on the succulent meal prepared.

My nephew was still craning his neck in search of his goodies. But no tangible gifts were exchanged. Only the gift of telling others how special they were to us survived. To date, that has been one of my best Christmases.

A friend of mine recently went on dialysis for his kidneys. He no longer gets invitations to the tony social gatherings from his “friends.” But he’s grateful this Christmas for the loving support of his extended family.

Many of us are not beset by monumental crises, and most of us perhaps will not wield much power in the way of wealth or national prominence. However, all of us can be a blessing to somebody less fortunate than ourselves.

If you can find both your passion and a way to share it with others this holiday season, again I implore you to make a difference; you’ll get twice the benefit. Someone once said that there’s no greater gift than giving from your heart.

If your credit cards are maxed out and your gift list is coming up short, here’s the ultimate remedy that nobody will ever refuse. From that big heart of yours, just give love on Christmas Day. Indeed, that kind of gift giving will never go out of style!

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