Generally, when you ask a friend to tell you about their favorite gift ever received, they’ll mention their child’s drawing, a moment spent with a special someone, their spouse’s love letter from a while ago, etc.  The gifts that leave the unequivocal essence of genuine love are those who mark our hearts with the sweetest of memories.

Here are 5 of the most thoughtful gifts money can’t buy but true love can create during this holiday season:

  1. Poetry.

    Wait, it doesn’t have to be a Shakespearean style sonnet. It can be simple such as an acrostic: Write your loved one’s name vertically and list adjectives that begin with each letter. You, as the poet can make it funny or very loving either way go ahead and get creative. This is a great one for the kids to make for family members…an absolute favorite among grandparents.  Present it beautifully as a priceless work of art.

  2. Cook Book.

    Take your loved ones and family’s favorite recipes and write them out. This one may take some prep time, but it’s so worth the time and effort.  Here are a few simple steps to make it that much more special.  Write a dedication in the front of your book.  You can use a composition book and hand-write it for a much more personal touch.  This could easily become a family air loom, especially, if you give it to your child as they go to college or move out. Include photos of the dishes and of your loved one enjoying it. Your recipes will surely live on and bring a sense of warmth to the recipient.

  3. Family Stories.

    Moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are every child’s favorite storyteller. So go ahead and tell a story.  Most cultures and for many years used story telling as means of enjoyment, to instill family principles, and to pass on traditions. Telling family stories helps kids develop a keen sense of uniqueness and belonging. This simple task of telling stories yet incredible phenomenon may also help increase their self-esteem.  The feeling of connection to their past ancestors and other family members is surely to play a key role for their own sense of family unity. Sharing stories about your childhood can be so much fun and bring about hilarious moments of laughter creating fantastic memories.  Other stories will allow for learning moments about journeys, determination, and love. In fact, many of the decisions our ancestors made have had a direct impact improving our own lives and that of our kids and merit retelling.

  4. Good Deeds.

    The sense that one person can change the world lives in every child’s heart and in most of ours as well. Grant your child opportunities to practice compassion and kindness by helping the less fortunate.  It is easy to find the right group and cause that connects well with your family’s intentions.  So call around to a couple of churches, synagogues, community centers, etc to find out how you and your kids can participate in giving of your time and/or talent.  Hopefully, you will all find the joy in your giving that will make this part of your holiday traditions.  Adding to existing traditions is a terrific way of making them even more meaningful.

  5. Time.

    The best gift to give your child is your time and your undivided attention…full eye and heart contact. The hustle and bustle of our busy and hectic lives is often times the culprit of what consumes us most.  Challenge yourself to stop, stop everything. Allow yourself to disconnect even for a little while from all phones and mindful demands and play with your child.  PLAY, play full on attention on them, whether it’s to build a puzzle, dance a little, go for a bike ride, or to read a story.  Reward yourself and your kids a moment of unconditional love and affection.  REPEAT. REPEAT.

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