Give a Little Love

This is a guest post by Katie Tallo of Momentum Gathering. Katie and I decided to swap guest posts today. We call it a “gift swap.” We’re exchanging our ideas on gift giving with each other and with our readers. Be sure to head over to her blog to see my gift to Katie. This is her gift to me.

As December unfolds, much of the world becomes one big glistening and grotesque sales display. I love the lights, the decorations, the beauty of the holiday season, but too much of it is focused on consuming. I try my best to look away, stay at home, and not go near the malls, but even the newspaper comes to my door bursting with holiday flyers. With each stack I toss, I feel an overwhelming sense of repulsion.

Do we really need all the stuff they say we need?

And why this month and not last month? Because it’s Christmas? Believe me I get it. I spent years growing up wanting all those gifts. I gave my daughter piles of gifts as she grew up. I wrote big lists of gifts for everyone I knew, then dragged myself through the malls lugging huge packages and spending money I didn’t have. Why?

Because alternatives were not on my radar. I did what everyone else was doing. I was just putting one credit card in front of the other. I didn’t think about alternatives, choices, options, or a different way. I didn’t step back and assess whether or not I needed to do what the radio, TV, society, family, politicians, Christmas movies, flyers, shop windows and magazines were screaming at me to do.

But I’m stepping back now because it’s never too late. I’m choosing something else now – a different way to enjoy the holiday season. Some people in my life don’t like it, but most do.

I’ve trimmed my list, my stress and my spending.

I’ve realized that what the world needs is not a new pair of fluffy slippers or the latest video game or another cheesy neck tie.

What the world needs is love.

Your love can change a life. It can heal and create warmth, belief, trust, light and hope. It can comfort, support and inspire. If you allow love to make it’s way onto your list this year, you’ll be giving the best gifts you’ve ever given.

So tear up the old list and begin writing a new one today. Put love at the top. Here are some other gifts you might want to add:

gifts for your loved ones

a big hug

a hand held tight

a kiss

a love note

a few words about how great they are

a frolic in the snow

an evening walk

a cuddle up by the fire

a fun kitchen bake day

a tree decorating party

gifts for your community

a food basket for the food bank

a helping hand at a shelter

an offer to shovel a laneway

a nod or smile to a stranger

a door held

a heavy load lifted to someone’s car

a contribution to the homeless

a patient nod to a stressed cashier

a genuine thank you for service

a piece of litter picked up

gifts to your world

a conscious choice

a mindful life

a loving vibe

a desire for change

a hopeful attitude

a peaceful heart

a transformative vision

a joyful mindset

an innovative decision

a big idea

That hug, that helping hand, that big idea are gifts that can change the direction of a life, a community or a planet. Each of us has the power to make small changes and large ones. So this December and in the year to come, give a little love. It’s a beautiful gift.

The video that follows is an inspiring example of a man who gives out food and love every day.

Katie seeks to inspire simple, joyful life change on her blog, Momentum Gathering.

Photo by Pink Sherbet.

Check out Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk, coming January 2016 from Delacorte Press/Random House. Visit her author site here.

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Weekend Reading Material: Week of December 13 « Lisa's Foods on the Move
December 17, 2010 at 5:02 pm

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1 Scott McIntyre December 15, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Hi Katie and Melissa,

I’m dropping by to open the second gift in your guest post swap ;-)…

You say that: “Because alternatives were not on my radar. I did what everyone else was doing.” Isn’t that the greatest thing about learning from our own experience? The power to stop what we don’t agree with and change it to what WE see as more appropriate.

The more I see the zombie-fied queues of shoppers clutching things that are ultimately throwaway, the more I’m convinced that the essence of Christmas is barely there.

But, as you point out, we can either go-with-the-flow and perpetuate the souless celebration or we can stop it in our own lives. And that’s where it really matters.

Enriching the life and experience of ourselves and others is worth so much more than anything materialistic can offer.

Purchasing ‘gifts’ (no matter how carefully selected) is a one-off gesture that is prompted by the pressure to mark one day. Showing someone love and respect lasts forever as it celebrates and strengthens our relationships as people.

It may not come in a shiny box with a big bow, but it’s what inside that ultimately affects someone’s life. That’s a whole other post 😉

2 Katie December 15, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Thanks for the lovely, thoughtful and profound insights, Scott. I like how you said that love and respect are gifts that last. And, I’m with you on the zombified nature of Christmas. It stops within each of us if we want it to. We just need to wake up. Thanks for checking out both our gift swap posts. You’re the best.

3 Barbara Hammond December 15, 2010 at 2:32 pm

You are so right and this is the time for mindful and loving giving. We’ve decided to give things that require spending time with each other, because that is what we love the most. Tickets to a movie, a visit to the Art Museum, a quiet dinner with a nice bottle of wine. Sharing the company of our friends and family is the best gift of all!
Thanks for the post.

4 Katie December 15, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Hi Barbara, your gift ideas sound great — they reflect what matters most to you. Have a happy holiday with your friends and family. Thanks for sharing.

5 Aileen December 15, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Thank you Katie for sharing an alternative way to give & celebrate the season.
🙂

6 Katie December 15, 2010 at 9:40 pm

You are most welcome, Aileen. Being open to alternatives is a wonderful way to move through life.

7 Angela Artemis December 15, 2010 at 9:00 pm

What a beautiful post Katie.
We stopped exchanging gifts in my family 10 years ago. We decided it was not adding to the enjoyment of the holiday, but stressing us out more. Especially, when we didn’t need any of the things we were buying each other. I now enjoy the holidays more than I had for years.

I love the video you included. What a wonderful thing this man is doing. He’s a great example to us all. Thank you so much for spreading the love and joy of the season!

8 Katie December 15, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Thank you Angela. I’m glad you enjoyed Narayanan’s story. It really moved me too. As for stopping most of the gift giving … I’ve done the same thing this year and it feels so stress free to not have an abundance of gifts on my list. It’s so much more sane. Thanks for sharing and caring.

9 Living the Balanced Life December 15, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Hi Katie!
Great post and yes we could all use more love in our lives and we could all stand to share a little love as well.
We do still give gifts in our immediate family (4 youngs adults, 3 sig others, 7 grandchildren ages 4 months-10 years!) but we have an odd way of giving gifts. We give things that will further them in their hobby/career/venture, or we give something that is an experience. My daughter and her 6 kids are getting an annual pass to a local park/natural attraction near their home. They will get many hours use out of this and it will help build memories for them.
I actually wrote a post about the type of gift-giving we do!
http://livingthebalancedlife.com/2010/give-the-gift-of-their-dreams/
Bernice

10 Katie December 15, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Bernice, yours sounds like a very loving way to give gifts – the gift of memories, experiences and also things that mean something to those your giving too – things they can actually use. Very loving. Thanks for sharing your family tradition and your post. Happy holidays.

11 Tess The Bold Life December 16, 2010 at 10:40 am

Katie,
One of my difficult moments that turned out to be easier than expected was last year when we told our 4 daughters we were no long buying Christmas presents and we asked them to stop giving to us as well. It bought us all freedom and now what counts about the holidays is in the forefront. I wish I was wise enought to do this when I was younger like so many of my virtual friends today.

12 Katie December 16, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Love it, Tess. Putting what matters at the forefront instead of presents. That’s the true gift. We learn these things when the time is right, I guess.

13 Marci December 16, 2010 at 1:07 pm

What a powerful video. To clean them as if they were his own children is very moving to watch. What will it move in me? Before I watched it, I was thinking about the little ways I show love. How I’ve started including my kids in serving others. How I write in a journal for each of my family members on Christmas to share what they mean to me. These are my little things. Big things are waiting to come out…

(And, Melissa, I’m grateful for the post swap. I’ve signed up for your blog and downloading your book. Thank you both for these gifts.)

14 Melissa December 16, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Hi Marci,
Those are beautiful ways to share love. Little things can be big things. Thanks so much for subscribing and Merry Christmas!
Melissa

15 Marci December 16, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Melissa, I wasn’t able to save your ebook on Inspiration? Is that possible?

I look forward to reading more.

16 Melissa December 17, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Hi Marci,
Thanks for mentioning this! I will check into it right away and get back to you soon.
Hugs,
Melissa

17 Katie December 16, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Hooray, Marci so glad you are enjoying Melissa’s blog and her lovely resources. It sounds like the gifts you give to your family are very heartfelt, Marci. I have no doubt that you’ve already had a huge impact on your children and on those you’ve all chosen to serve as a family. Very loving.

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