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« Ask the Expert: Dan Thurmon | 6 Tips for Stress-Free Holidays »
Monday
Dec092013

The Giving Season

Perhaps now more than any other season, it’s a time of giving. Enticements to shop, spend, and find those perfect gifts, along with increased solicitation requests to make charitable donations, fuel our urge to give. We feel good and balanced when we give. I’m not just talking about physical or monetary gifts. Just in the last few weeks, I’ve experienced how giving comes in many other forms.

Gift of Time – Recently, my husband and I were invited to share a lovely home cooked meal and leisurely conversation with wonderful friends. After dinner, we went to a reading of new play sponsored by the Hudson Stage Company. We continued our evening out with dessert and coffee at a local restaurant. The gift was in the time spent together.

Gift of Teaching  – My daughter, who is an excellent cook, gave me cooking lessons for my birthday. She is the teacher. Allison created and put on a flash drive a list of her favorite cooking sites and recipes. The gift includes purchasing the ingredients and making five main dishes and desserts that we’ll cook together. So far we’ve had two lessons. She’s a great teacher and fabulous company. Cooking, smiling, talking, wine drinking, all while learning from my daughter.

Gift of Repair  – There are always things that need fixing. I feel lucky that my husband happens to be pretty darn amazing at repairing things when he has the time. Of course, time is what’s in the shortest supply. Recently, he fixed an overhead light by installing a new socket. It’s a light I regularly use that had literally been on the blink for a long time. Every time I turn it on, I think of Steve. I’m grateful for him and his expertise. This was a simple, yet love-filled repair.

Gift of Music – We were at a recent holiday party with live Cajun and Zydeco music. Being that many of the guests were also musicians, they brought their instruments so they could jam together. As they played, sharing their gifts, I listened and danced. It was joyful.

Gift of Warmth – At that same party with the live music, there was also an outdoor fire going. At one point, I found myself outside in the cold air, entranced by the fire. It gave off such warmth. And it wasn’t just the heat. As I sat there, watching the flames swirl and roar, different people came and went sharing stories, conversation, and laughter. I was warm from the fire and the good company.

Gift of Donating  – Like you, I’m sure there are many local and international charities that you regularly support. We can donate time, money, or both. Some of the charities that I regularly give to include the Institute for Challenging Disorganization, National Association of Professional Organizers, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Temple Israel of Northern Westchester, and the Croton Caring Committee.

Gift of Gratitude – There is so much to be grateful for like our family, friends, health, work, and well-being. I’m thankful for my amazing clients and the trust they have in me to help them with their organizing challenges. I’m in awe of their perseverance, creativity, intelligence, and warmth. To express my appreciation, I just launched a Client Loyalty Program, which automatically rewards Oh, So Organized! clients for their ongoing loyalty and trust. To find out more, click here.

It’s the giving season. I’m sure you’ll have plenty of opportunities to be on both the giving and receiving end. Ben Carson said, Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.”  I suspect it’s actually a bit of each – a balance between giving and learning how to receive. What resonates with you? What are you noticing this giving season?

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Reader Comments (17)

What a touching and warm post! I love the ideas shared about ways to give. Your quote captures the truth of the season. It is truly a gift to know how to receive gracefully as well.

"Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.”

December 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

Well that is just a beautiful post, Linda. I am smiling as I read about your husband fixing things (mine does too!) and your daughter teaching you (what a wonderful gift!) I so appreciate the gift of a listening/non-judgmental ear when I need one, and the gift of rest - something I can always use more of, but am so thankful for. Wishing you and all your readers a wonderful holiday season!

December 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

I loved reading about your daughter's gift of a flash drive with recipes and links to cooking sites. Reminds me of the "old days" when guests would write their favorite recipes on index cards for a bridal shower!

December 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

I can feel the warmth with all of you here. Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate you taking time to join the conversation.

@Ellen- I loved the Carson quote so much, that I had to include it. I'm glad you liked it too. I totally agree with you that it's the essence of the season. It always feels wonderful to give. Learning how to receive graciously is equally important.

@Seana- How wonderful that your husband is a great "fixer" too! I love your additions of "gift of listening" and "gift of rest." I feel calm just thinking about those gifts. Just beautiful.

@Janet- I hadn't thought about the connection to the "old days." That's such a great perspective. My favorite recipes that I've collected over 30 years ARE on index cards. And I still use them. When I cook with my daughter, she has her laptop open and reads the recipe right from the screen. I like to print or write things out. It's a generational thing (I think.)

Wishing you all beautiful, happy holidays!

December 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Oh so Linda, you are amazing. I appreciate the way you expose your mind and soul through posts like this.
Is true, all of us like things as presents, but most of the time forget the meaning behind them. Getting and giving gifts that cost nothing but have a tremendous value, is what matters the most. We live in a consumerism world, every ad on tv, magazines and billboards send a message "buy to be happy" and we buy and still we are not happy. Happiness come from moments, experiences, and from the gifts such the ones you mentioned, time, gratitude, warmth, love, compassion, caring, companionship, etc.
We need to understand that our biggest gift is our soul and need to use it connecting with other souls through ourselves not through objects.
Besides, looking the gifts as Professional Organizers, the best thing is those won't create clutter :)

December 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNacho Eguiarte

Nacho- You're sharing the gift of conversation and communication, "connecting with other souls through ourselves." Thank you so much. As you said, it's hard to ignore the consumer-driven world we live in. And not that we should. But realizing that gifts come in other, less tangible forms are important to know too.

Today I've been given the "gift of snow." While I was looking forward to organizing with my client, our time together was postponed due to the storm. So today instead as I look outside, I'm enjoying the big, fast-moving, fluffy white flakes that are quickly covering the landscape. All is quiet and lovely.

December 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

The giving season you so wonderfully described here needs to be a lifestyle to be embraced by more people instead of the consumerism which the media portrays... The gift of oneself with another is the most precious gift of all. Thank you Linda, for your gift of self in your thoughtful posts and invitations to connect thru your blog.

December 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Schlesinger

Lisa- Thank you for your words of support and encouragement. I enjoy this gift every day, being able to connect with wonderful people like you and all the other amazing people that take time to share on the blog. With the many venues available to connect, how and when we communicate becomes even more essential. We participate in different types of communities- ones that gather in person, by phone, blogs, email, or other channels. I'm so grateful for The Other Side of Organized blog community that generously shares with each other about life, organizing, challenges, and more. Thank you for being here.

December 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Linda, so articulately expressed. Thank you for reminding us of so many of the gifts that are right in front of us so much of the time! When we pay attention, we can discover even the simplest but greatest ones.

With the heavy snow this morning, I too, am home enjoying the stillness and beauty, and realizing that today I am gifting myself, "time." I'm so excited with the imposed time off, I don't know where to begin!!! The gift of "time' is truly a luxury. It may inspire me to craft a blog, wrap some gifts (which I really love to do), read, nap, take an ICD tele class, all while relaxing in my pjs!…the list is endless.

Tonight is our POLI Holiday party, which unfortunately may be cancelled. That would be a shame because we shall all miss out on the gift of "sharing", and "camaraderie," and my favorite git of "eating!"

December 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Borg

Yes, gifts are so much more than material things and I love how you've described some truly heartfelt gifts. I love the gift of repair - it is a generous gift of peace! My son fixed some window blinds for me and it is true, I am so grateful for his time and talent every time I go to adjust the them. The image of your daughter teaching you makes me smile. I think as parents these are also moments to take delight in the adults that are children are becoming/have become.

December 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDenise Lee

I'm enjoying the pleasure of your company. It's as if we're sitting around together, sipping on on hot beverages, chatting things up. Wonderful to hear from you both.

@Nancy- I so identify with the gift of "time." While I do love working with my clients and appreciate that gift, it's also wonderful to have an unexpected "bonus day" to create as we wish. I can see you wrapping and writing or even relaxing and ICD teleclass taking (go Nancy!) I sure hope you get to see your POLI colleagues tonight. What a great group to share your gifts with. Enjoy!

@Denise- Lovely that you have a son that is great with fixing the broken. And better yet that he uses his gift to help you. A double gift. Being a parent is a gift…and watching our children become adults is amazing. An ongoing gift that brings true meaning to "marvel." Enjoy these gifts that fill our hearts.

December 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Gifting of material items during the holiday season tends to bring me down. Many of us have so much stuff and yet we continue to saddle ourselves with more. Thank you for so positively reframing the idea of gift. We are showered with the best kinds of gifts everyday. We just need to take note of them. Best to you and your readers this holiday season.

December 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea Sharb

Andrea- It's so interesting to actually "hear" someone say out loud that receiving material things "tends to bring me down." I've experienced that too. The stuff, unless it's something actually needed, can be more burdensome than welcome. The gift of time, self, experiences or other intangibles, which are present every day, are ones I enjoy more and more, especially as I get older. Noticing what's right here is a gift in itself. As you said, "We just need to take note of them."

December 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Linda, this is so lovely and oh so Linda. You know I am a huge believer in the gift of doing. And all these wonderful experiences you enjoyed were made possible by the simple act of someone Doing something and not Buying something. I particularly love the one with your daughter. It doesn't get much better than that!

December 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Josel

Leslie- I remember reading your post recently about "The Gift of Doing." Just beautiful. For those that missed it, here's the link. I know you'll enjoy it as much as I did: http://orderoochaos.com/blog/2013/12/03/142-the-gift-of-doing

We both seem to prefer the non-traditional gifts that come with less stress and more meaning. It's in the doing, the connecting, and the being that the most precious gifts arrive.

December 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

What a beautiful post Linda. It is true we spend too much time spending money, and not enough spending time with people we love, and who gives us positive energy.

December 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

Jill- It's so true that being around people that we love "gives us positive energy." That IS the gift. I just finished reading the book "Thrive" by Daniel Buettner. He writes about the communities in the world that are the happiest and most thriving. There are some themes that emerge. Being engaged in "community" is one of them. Humans are social creatures, so being connected to a community is key to our well-being.

December 11, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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