Sunday, November 30, 2008


Tips + Notes
If you tip building staff, the mail carrier, or anyone else who contributes to your daily life, add a hand-written note stating what you appreciate about that person and his/her work. People remember kind, personalized words as much as they do the monetary gift.

Blessings All Around
For more than 25 years, I’ve been participating in my family’s holiday-time exchange of written blessings. Here’s how it works: I pick out or make a card that reminds me of each member of my family. (Family can include anyone with whom you celebrate the holidays. My family includes my brother’s wife and their children.) I write a message to each person, sharing what I appreciate about him/her and what I hope for him/her in the upcoming year. Sometime before the New Year, we gather and open our blessings. Both the giving and receiving of these written gifts has always been a highlight of the season. I also love going back and reading blessings from past years.

Remember and Share Highlights from the Year
At the beginning of winter, I pick out a non-religious but festive greeting card to send to friends, family, and clients. I enclose an “A to Z Highlights of the Year” with the card, sometimes adding a personalized note. It’s a satisfying way of remembering, communicating, and sustaining gratitude for all the good folks and happenings in my life.

Collage Your Vision for 2009 (And Beyond!)
Step one: set a date to get together with your friends or colleagues. Step two: round up some poster board, colored paper, magazines, stickers, markers and glitter glue. Step three: using magazine pics, create a collage that represents how you want your life to look in the upcoming year. Step four: put this collage up in a visible spot so that you are reminded daily of what you intend to bring into your life. Step five: watch good things come your way!

Create Written Goals and Priorities for 2009
Go to your favorite cafĂ© to write down what you want to bring into your life in the year 2009. Some categories to consider: Health/Wellness, Relationships, Family, Creativity, Finances, Career, Home, Travel/Adventure, Community Involvement. Go back to that list every couple of months to gauge where you are, make amendments, and figure out what the next steps are toward the desired outcomes. Extra-fun assignment: Pretend it’s December of 2009. Write about your year as if it happened exactly the way you wanted it to go! Like the list of goals and priorities, this document is useful to return to throughout the year.

Simplify Gift-Giving
Show appreciation for colleagues, clients, employees and mentors by purchasing multiple copies of an inspirational book that has wide-spread appeal. A favorite book of mine for this purpose is Dominique Glocheux’s La Vie En Rose: The Little Book of Joy.

Make the Gift A Shared Experience
Establish an agreement with family members and significant others to replace gifts of the material kind with a shared experience like a culture- or nature-based event, dinner out at an extra-special restaurant, or a weekend getaway.

Make Friends with Your Neighbors
Host a holiday potluck where you invite neighbors who you’d like to know better.Another option: invite neighbors with children to come over to do some holiday baking.

Clean Sweep: Clear a Path to the New Year
Get your family members or room mates together for an afternoon of cleaning out rooms, desks, and closets. Collect everyone’s donatable items and organize a trip to the closest thrift shop.
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