"It is in giving that we receive." - The Prayer of St. Francis

"What's the best gift you've ever received?", I asked my husband recently. I asked him on a few different occasions just to see if his reply would change. It was consistent each time. He said, "The 40 things you love about me list and the jar of happiness."  Homemade gifts. Actually the most simple gifts I've ever given him topped his list. Not the expensive, fancy ones. Not the trendy ones. The gifts that came straight from my heart and reached out to his were the ones he loved the most and still loves - each day.  You see, these gifts truly are the kinds of gifts that keep on giving.

So, I began to think about this more myself. What gifts have I been given that mean the most to me? I began to write them down:

  • The letter I received last Christmas from my Dad. (There's a super special story behind this. A special ALL GOOD THINGS post will be made soon retelling this story from last year.)
  • The homemade engagement ring Brian made and used as part of his proposal to me
  • A Christmas ornament my sister made for me when Brian & I hosted our first family Christmas at our house
  • A picture that was passed on to me from a stranger after a show
  • A thank you note from the parent of one of my former students
  • A hand-drawn picture/quote in frame
  • A doll hand-sewn and created by my mom. Her home-made version of a Cabbage Patch Doll using my very own baby clothes when she couldn't afford to get me the one I wanted.

This is in no way a complete list. I have so many favorites and my heart is filled over and over again by them. Not so much because of the physical gift itself, but rather the intentions & energy given along with that gift. It is felt each and every time I see or even think of these gifts. You see these gifts keep giving. They lift me up. They remind me of how I've been loved and what others love about me. And, that's why they are magical, powerful and timeless to me - just like love.

It is with that thought that I offer you the idea of taking the time to create a gift. Not being afraid to give simply this holiday season. A gift that comes straight from your heart and reaches to another. It can be as simple as writing a list out of 30 (or 20 or 10 or 70 or 5, the number really doesn't matter) things you love about the person you're making the gift for. Just giving this list would be a great gift. You could decorate it, frame it, or write it out on fancy paper or just keep it plain and simple. If you want to make it even more fun, keep breathing life back into it. Give the person your gifting a copy and keep a copy for yourself. Then on any given day tell this person to pick a number. This is fun to do via text. When they respond you can text back the item you listed that you love about them that is next to the number they chose. This is a super fun way to be playful, thoughtful, stay connected and remind those you love of just how awesome they are on any day - something we could all use more of.  It is my belief that we are put on this planet to love and inspire others. This is one simple way we can begin doing that. And, it is basically how the list of 40 things I love about Brian works and continues to be a heartfelt and fun gift each and everyday. Try it out with someone you love and watch how the love and joy you share with one another grows.

So, in this season of gift giving, free yourself from the hustle and bustle of the of the holiday shopping crowds and cozy up with some pen and paper. Write down the reasons you love the ones you do. See what happens. Start by making the list just for you and then see where it goes. Perhaps it'll turn into a gift for your loved one, or maybe it'll just warm your own heart thinking so positively of them. Maybe it'll help you write a card out for them that you can attach to a gift you bought or made. In any case, you'll end up happier and brighter, which is in itself a gift to others.

So, now I want to know...
What have been the best gifts you've received?
Do you have any ides for homemade or simple gifts that you like to give?

Let me know! Share it and this post with others. We all can use a little help from time to time. And who knows, it just might be the words someone needs to hear today!

Happy holidays and happy every days everyone!

Here's to enjoying your life and ALL GOOD THINGS my friends!

XOXO,

Mary

P.S. - Instructions for a creating a jar full of happiness will be posted soon.  More ALL GOOD THINGS to come!

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