This Holiday Season, Think “Cheap and Cheerful”

With the holiday season upon us, I’m guessing most of you have your gifts in hand and so, are thinking my post isn’t that timely.

Perhaps not.

Luckily, the gifts I am recommending here will cost you nothing—but are likely to be invaluable to those receiving them.

What am I considering?

Well, without sounding too sticky-sweet, I would begin with:

Compliments: Now many of you might read that and think, “I give compliments all the time and people wave them off—so what’s the point?” Ah, that’s because you need to extend your compliment beyond what’s known in my business as the “useless modifier”. i.e. “You’re great/amazing/incredible…..” Snore. The trick to giving an excellent compliment is to be specific: “Your work ethic this year was fantastic. I particularly liked how X project came together. The way you handled Y demonstrated excellent strategic thinking” Ditto if you’re complimenting someone’s party or baking or some such—be specific.

Gratitude: Similarly, if you are thanking someone for the gift they gave you or the extra mile they went helping you meet a deadline, be specific. It’s not enough to say, “Thanks so much—that was amazing!” If someone helped you with a work deadline, include the details of how their input changed your game. If you’re thanking someone for a gift, get into the nuts and bolts of how you intend to/enjoyed using it. For example, “The nuts you sent me were a lifesaver—I had 6 people over for drinks unexpectedly and they kept us all from gnawing off our own arms.”

Embrace: As you can imagine, the word “hugs” is not a big part of my lexicon. Instead, I am recommending the old fashioned “embrace.” Why? Well, aside from the fact that “hugs” makes me think of that vaguely creepy bear on Snuggle fabric softener, I choose embrace because in addition to recommending adding physical embraces to your repertoire, I am recommending making an effort to embrace others’ idiosyncrasies/foibles/eccentricities and whatnot. Not only is this a gift they will cherish, but it’s likely to make your holidays a lot more joyful, too.