Basically, every meal that you’re eating alone is a missed opportunity to connect to someone.
Myth: Gifts should dazzle
Instead of focusing on the “wow” factor in the moment of exchange, choose a gift that will be useful. Novelty wears off quickly. These gift misfires usually end up in the back of a closet.
Myth: Gifts should surprise
Although you may feel inclined to go the extra mile and get the person something they hadn’t thought of – stop. There’s a reason they made a registry. Thought goes into a wish list. Give the person a vacuum cleaner if they want one, not a gift that you think they might want.
Myth: Gifts should be tangible
While givers typically opt for material gifts like a sweater or an iPad, research shows that the best gifts don’t always require a bow and wrapping paper. Giving experiences like tickets to a concert to see their favorite band perform or a certificate for a nice dinner out will result in more enjoyment later on.
Myth: Gifts should reflect the recipient
If you don’t know the person all that well, resist the temptation to tailor the gift to suit their unique taste. For instance, if your co-worker likes cats and you’re her Secret Santa, giving her a gift card to the local pet store might seem thoughtful to you but it will be less useful to her. Give her an Amex gift card that she can use anywhere instead.
Myth: Gifts should be expensive
In an attempt to show thoughtfulness, givers often choose expensive gifts. In reality, price does not predict how much a recipient will enjoy or use it. Making a photo album, knitting a scarf, or baking a batch of your famous cookies doesn’t cost much but the value is priceless. As the old saying goes, the best gifts come from the heart, not the store.
1. Give Your Time AwayVolunteer at a soup kitchen. Deliver meals to the homebound. Write a note to a friend or relative expressing how much that person means to you. Doing things for others will make you feel less rushed and serves as a great reminder of what really counts.
2. Get Fresh AirAs tempting as it might be to curl up by the fireplace, spend at least 20 minutes a day outside. It will boost your mood and clear your mind of negative thoughts.
3. Avoid Hot-Button Topics At Family GatheringsSteering clear of heated subjects doesn’t mean you have to talk about the weather. Ask relatives questions about family history or other topics of genuine interest to all of you. You might learn something.
4. Know Your TriggersHoliday stress combined with the increased abundance of calorie-packed treats can lead to unnecessary eating and drinking. Be aware of those situations and your choices. Life isn’t on hold until January 1. Do not use the holidays as an excuse to put health on the back burner.
5. Embody gratitudeTake giving thanks to heart. In addition to counting your blessings, think of gratitude as an action. Contribute to something. Add value. This article originally appeared in Marie Claire
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