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15 Gifts of Presence for the Holidays and Beyond

As the holidays begin with gift-giving, we remember those in our lives who have touched our hearts, helped us learn greater lessons,  who might be at a distance or perhaps are not with us this year. The gift of presence is one of great value in these times and beyond.

Deep within the heart of each of us is a yearning for presence and connection. It is true that our friends, family members, and ancestors have all had an important part in our lives through lessons, life-giving energy, and contribution to who we are today.

I believe the greatest gift I can conceive of having from anyone is to be seen, heard, understood, and touched by them. The greatest gift I can give is to see, hear, understand, and touch another person. When this is done, I feel contact has been made. ~Virginia Satir

For children, family members, and friends, the need for connection, acknowledgment, the sharing of talents, good food, stories, and conversation help to create the fulfillment of this need. Offering your time, expressing your appreciation for what has mattered most, and listening deeply to another has great value for your health, relationships, and sense of well-being. Treasures of personal talents and skills, honoring our family gems, nurturing friendships, being there through listening, spending time playing together, and gratitude are the gifts of presence that keep on giving throughout our lives.

Here are 15 low or no-cost suggestions for presence this holiday season and beyond:

1) Tell stories of your memories as a child to your children and grandchildren. Record them.

2) Include your ancestors in your storytelling by remembering a positive memory and sharing it with the little ones who might never have met them, or do not remember them. Acknowledge the gifts they offered you through talent or higher lessons.

3) Call friends with whom you haven’t spoken for a while. Catch up with them. Listen, and acknowledge how your friendship, no matter how seemingly distant, fills your heart.

4) Set up a call with family members who are miles away with a free conference call service like Skype, Zoom, Facetime app, or* Spend time on the call with a focus on a happy memory or appreciation of the year, gratitude for each person (name the specific actions and meaning), and share a concern or need which another person in the family might be able to assist. *These services are free except for your phone carrier charges.

5) Offer a talent or skill that you have to another person: computer help, yard work, carpentry, pet care, gardening, cooking, sewing, lessons (music, woodwork, artwork, knitting). These gifts of presence can be done safely with a little imagination.

6) Write a Gratitude Letter to each person in your home. Read them out loud to each person or record them as a video or audio. Send a Gratitude Letter to someone far away, or to someone you feel needs to know how much they mean to you. Let them know how their thoughtfulness through time has touched your heart.* from The Web of Life by Richard Louv

7) Bring nature inside with plants, flowers, and herbs. Hang a birdfeeder outside to create that connection with the outdoors.

8) Give your pet brushing and spend time walking or playing with them.

9) Spend time playing with your children on the floor, do artwork, turn on music and dance, or schedule a special time every week with them to just listen or play a game together.

10) Tell your partner and children 3 things that their presence has created appreciation about them before they go to sleep each night.

11) Mail seeds for a garden to a friend. Share gardens and their harvest with gifts of jams, teas, preserves, sauces, etc.

12) Make your family’s favorite holiday foods. Teach your children how to make these dishes. You can also share your recipes or give tips based on your favorite dishes online or by email with friends or family. Create a cookie exchange with recipes. Collect recipes from other family members. Write down the recipes. Give your recipes as a gift!

13) Read a story that you loved as a child to your children or grandchildren. Read and share books with your loved ones of all ages!

14) Listen to your children read, play an instrument, or sing a song. Listen to music together and sing together. Share songs you learned as a child. Encourage creativity!

15) Check-in on elders to see how they are doing, especially during the cold months. Check to see if they have power, heat, or if they need anything. Ask if there is any way you might help them connect with the outside world like healthcare,  pharmacy, car repair, insurance, or grocery delivery if they need these services. Share your tech knowledge to help them connect with family and friends online.

Happy Holidays from my heart to yours!

Kimberly Rex, MS is a certified Advanced Resonance Repatterning®, Person-Centered Expressive Therapist, and Life Coach. She works with clients all over the world in personal and group sessions that create greater integrity in your wellness and well-being.

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