Holidays: 6 Gifts of More Lasting Value

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Q.
Last year you wrote a column about "gifts of lasting value.
" It meant a great deal to our family because at the time we were in a financial crisis and were unable to buy gifts.
Although things are better this year, we were wondering if you could offer some more suggestions for gifts of lasting value.
A.
It's so easy to get caught up in the materialism of the holidays, that it's easy to forget about the gifts of lasting value.
It's also nice to give gifts that are unlikely to be returned.
The gift of story In the song "Story of a Life" Harry Chapin sings, "Sometimes words can serve you well.
" He sure got that one right.
A well-told story paints a word picture that can provide comfort, identity, belonging and direction.
The gift of reconciliation Is there someone in your life this season with whom you need to reconcile? Has there been some damage or a break in a relationship that has not gotten cleaned up? What better present could you give, or receive, than the healing of an important relationship? How wonderful to go into the New Year with a new start.
If you need to apologize and ask for forgiveness, do it.
If you need to forgive someone, do it.
The gift of the hand-written word In our world of faxes, e-mails and cellular phones, letter writing is becoming almost a lost art form.
I received a long letter from an old friend this fall (we both have phones and e-mails) and it touched me deeply.
I've re-read it often this fall as I've needed encouragement.
Who could benefit from a handwritten letter from you? The gift of the spoken word Is there something you have been needing to say to someone that might smooth the way for them? Words like "I love you," "I'm behind you," "You can do it!" These can be magic words of encouragement for those around you.
The gift of taking action Procrastination is the No.
I cause of failure in most endeavors: failure to make the call, say or do something important, learn a new skill, or simply cleaning up the garage.
Is there something that you have left undone, that if you did it, would greatly benefit you and those around you? If the answer is yes, then go do it! The gift of understanding One of the deepest human needs is to be understood.
When a person feels they are not understood, they begin to make noise.
Letting someone know that you can see the world through their eyes, even if you disagree with them, makes a big difference.
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