The best gifts to give and receive

What’s on your holiday gift list? Is it stuffed with stuff? This year, why not take a step back from all the (re)gifting frenzy and think about what’s really important.  Small things that can make a huge difference long after the wrapping paper has been thrown away (properly recycled, of course!).
 
 Here are four gifts that keep on giving:
 
 The gift of time. Fun fact: time is not elastic. No one ever has enough. Be mindful of others’ time pressures and, if you can, help them out. Run an errand, be an extra set of hands, make a meal. In short, do something this person needs but doesn’t have time to do or even ask for. The bonus? It will come back to you. When you least expect it, someone will step in and free up minutes in your day.
 
 The gift of listening.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do for someone is to listen. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room. You don’t have to have all the answers. Your gift is to stay present (even if you’ve heard this story before), hear him/her out and empathize. Giving someone your complete and non-judgmental attention without interruption can validate their experience and help them find their own solutions in their own way. That can be such a loving gesture. (Can’t find someone to listen to you? Write down what’s on your mind. Don’t worry about style or form. Just write yourself a letter from the heart. You’ll find the answers you’re looking for.)
 
 The gift of solitude. Social media creates false intimacy and a “fear of missing out” that feeds on itself especially when we’re feeling vulnerable or alone. At a time of great sorrow in her life, Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote, “The best antidote for loneliness is solitude.” (I can tell you this is true.) By embracing solitude, you make a positive choice to put yourself and your desires first. It’s Self-Care 101 that helps you get to know yourself on a whole new level and learn how to relate to others in a more authentic way.
 
The gift of fitrition. (Yes, I made that word up.) Eat food that makes you feel good about yourself in the moment and in the mirror later. Share meals that celebrate love and pleasures of taste. Watch your portions, drink more water and take a breath before you lift your fork. (You know all this!) Then, integrate exercise into your day. Not only because it helps you burn off calories but because the endorphins lift your spirits. It’s all about balancing body and soul, physical and emotional, singular and social. Make every meal and every step count. You deserve it.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Or given? Tell us here.