When you think of a Christmas gift do you immediately think of shopping? I know each year I scratch my head, thinking about what gifts to buy and madly go about last minute shopping, wrapping and gift giving. Always seeking the ideal or best gift idea ever. This year it occurred to me that maybe I had been tackling it the wrong way. Then I discovered it. The perfect gift that I can give to so many more people than just those on my Christmas shopping list.
So what is it you ask? Instead of a present, give the best gift you can give – that of being present. Be a giver of significance. Show compassion.
Many of the conversations I have had in the lead up to Christmas have been about how much social pressure there is for everyone to experience a “magical” Christmas. You’ve seen the ads – the perfect family of four with a pet. A beautifully decorated Christmas tree. Long tables with plenty of food. Happy relatives sitting around generously sharing gifts.
For some though Christmas is not that painted picture. For some it’s a time of loneliness because they are not with loved ones. For others it’s a time where they need to live up to everyone else’s expectations, travel to family they barely speak to during the other 364 days of the year. For others the financial pressures lead to arguments and tension in relationships. It can actually be a painful feeling for some, rather than an exciting one.
So given this contrast, how do you know if the team member at work is really looking forward to Christmas? That your neighbour is dreading Christmas Day? Wouldn’t it be worthwhile giving your gift of presence to everyone you come into contact with no matter how they are feeling?
As a leader in the workplace here are a few tips you can follow to spread your gifts far and wide:
- Notice behaviour – staff may be more quiet, come later to work, appear distracted, become snappy. Anything that shows you they just aren’t themselves. Take the opportunity to ask the question “are you ok?”
- Pay attention to your team member or colleague when they talk to you – be 100% in the moment. Not multi-skilling, not answering phone calls or taking interruptions.
- Pay compliments to people – genuine ones. It could be about their appearance, their attitude or the work they produce.
- Be a “Secret Santa” and leave anonymous gifts on their desk – even just a hand written note with an uplifting message
Those tips can be extended beyond the workplace to include:
- Volunteer your time – meals on wheels, present drop, soup kitchen to name a few.
- Host lunch for the local ‘orphans’ in your friendship group who aren’t going to be with family over Christmas.
- Pay attention to what people are saying about how they are feeling and offer your ear and time to be present – listen and empathise.
When we make it all about the other person, we are rewarded with a gift of far more value than something that can be wrapped and placed under the Christmas tree. How will you give the gift of being truly present to someone today?
Want to find out more about how you can live a fulfilling life? Contact for a complimentary, no-obligation discovery session so we can find out if we’re a great match.Tags: bepresent leader leadership reframing