10 Powerful Gifts to Give and Receive Today

“Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.”  ~Ruth Ann Schabacker

Regardless of what holiday you celebrate, or how you honor it, there’s no denying this is an emotionally loaded time of year.

We either remind ourselves how grateful we are for all the people we love, or we remember how much it hurts that we don’t have people like that in our lives.

We either celebrate all our blessings, or we look toward the year to come, wondering if we’ll have more then.

You may find yourself reflecting on last Christmas in awe of how much has changed for the better in just one year’s time.

Or you may look back on the last twelve months wistfully, wishing things could be the way they were.

We’ll all experience the holiday season in many different ways over the course of our lives.

Whatever your unique situation this year—whether you’re in a growth cycle or working through feelings of loss—you have a lot to give and receive.

5 Gifts You Can Receive Today

1. Your breath.

It’s one of those things we take for granted—the air that gives us life. We don’t even need to think about breathing; we do it automatically.

Clearly we can appreciate that our breath sustains us, but it can do so much more. When we focus on breathing deeply, it can ground us, calm us, detoxify us, and even heal us.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Look at your hands, your feet, the tip of your nose. Fully inhabit your body. You’re here. You’re alive.  

2. Your freedom.

I write this knowing this may not be true of everyone, but I’m willing to bet most of us have our freedom.

Most of us can choose what we do today. We can choose what we think, where we go, who we surround ourselves with, and whether or not we allow ourselves to appreciate what’s in front of us. It's not a question of whether we have freedom; it's a question of whether we'll use it.

3. Your senses.

The smell of warm pie, which evokes something visceral from happy childhood memories. The crisp air that makes you feel alert and alive. The full blend of voices harmonizing holiday songs.

We have the capacity to perceive and feel so much. Fully experience it all. Let yourself breathe it in. See it, hear it, taste it—live it.

4. Opportunities for connection.

Whether we spend the day with family, friends, or acquaintances that have yet to become them, we all have the opportunity to really connect with the people in front of us.

We can open up, invite them to do the same, and remind each other that we are part of something greater than ourselves.

5. Lessons for growth.

Every day teaches us something that can help us going forward. If we’re self-aware and open, we can learn about ourselves, who we want to be, how we want to live, and what we need to do to facilitate that.

Whether it’s a laid back, relaxing day, or a challenging, stressful day, take something from this experience that will guide you on the journey ahead.

5 Gifts You Can Give Today

1. Your attention.

As adults, we often rush children to get to their point, when sometimes they’re just excited to have the spotlight. It’s not about finishing their story; it’s about their joy in getting to share it without interruptions.

We still want and need that as grown-ups, and we’re always grateful to receive it. Listening fully beats a sweater any day.

2. Your appreciation.

Everyone enjoys a compliment. That might mean praising someone’s stuffing or festive shirt, but I’ve found the most gratifying compliments are the ones that come from thoughtful observation.

It’s recognizing someone’s consistently upbeat nature, or how often they try when others would give up. It’s noticing the things we all want others to recognize, but fear that maybe they don’t.

3. Your acceptance.

There may be some people in your life you simply don’t understand. Try as you may, you just don’t get why they do what they do.

We should never tolerate being mistreated; we need to set boundaries to take care of ourselves. But once we’ve done that, we can then choose to accept people for who they are.

We can focus on the things we can control—our choices and responses—and then release the need to push others to change.

When we treat people how we want to be treated, we not only treat them with care, we also show them how it’s done.

4. Your forgiveness.

The other day I found a quote by Henry Ward Beecher that read: “I can forgive but I cannot forget is only another way of saying ‘I don’t forgive.’” I disagree.

We need to remember so we can learn and make smart decisions in the future. But that doesn’t mean we can’t fully feel compassion, release our anger, and free ourselves from the pain of bitterness and resentment.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: No one gets to the end of their life and says, “I wish I stayed angry longer.” One day, you’ll know it’s time to let go. Why not make that time now?

5. Your light.

Somewhere underneath all our fears, insecurities, and hurts, we each have a light.

Those lights may actually be brighter because of the darkness we’ve experienced, but in order to access them now, we need to take a deep breath and see beyond all the weight we carry around.

We need to clear our heads and hearts of worries and gripes and choose to be fully where we are.

We are all worthy, beautiful, and valuable to the world around us. Believe it and then act on it by doing something from your heart.

Even it’s something small—especially if it’s something small. Every tiny act of love and kindness makes the world a better place.

I'd appreciate the gift of your thoughts! Leave a comment and let me know if there's anything you'd add to the lists. 🙂

Photo by Tony George

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha's Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

See a typo, an inaccuracy, or something offensive? Please contact us so we can fix it!
  • Simon Denyer

    A wonderful article, Lori, thank you. Let the love shine through all the superficial nonsense this Christmas!

  • Sean

    A great article. Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas! Unlike material gifts. These are true gifts that will give people happiness.

  • Amber

    It could fall under opportunities for connection or acceptance, but I think that a valuable gift to share is empathy combined with hope…to say I have lived through a similar situation/fear/pain and it will be OK, even if it doesn’t feel that way now. A positive affirmation from a friend can mean so very much. Thank you Lori for providing that gift to us here on Tiny Buddha!

  • Beautiful reminder, thank you! The best present of all is the gift of presence 🙂 Happy Holidays to you!

  • Don Fraser

    Thank-you. There is a divine sense of what you wrote. It gives me happiness to know that love is not just a human thing.

  • Great presents to unwrap every single day of our lives. 🙂 Evidence of love, the greatest of them all.

  • Hope

    Great article, Lori. Thanks for the reminder

  • jasmine

    This Christmas, I think on the past month and realize I have practiced all of these. I recently reached out to someone and tried my very best to start a friendship. I have never, ever fully opened my true self up to having and being a friend. I am 35, was in a relationship for almost 19 years ( since I was 13 ) and I literally lost myself within myself for all those years. I don’t want to identify myself with that pain any longer.

    I was rejected by this person with no explanation. My guess is, I was too overbearing but my intuition kept telling me to try. It’s hurts. I forgive.

    My one Christmas wish is that he’ll reconsider, and, at the very least, say Merry Christmas to me.

    Merry Christmas, Lori & all.

  • jas

    This Christmas, I think on the past month and realize I have practiced all of these. I recently reached out to someone and tried my very best to start a friendship.

    ~ I have never, ever fully opened my true self up to having and being a friend. I am 35, was in a relationship for almost 19 years ( since I was 13 ) and I literally lost myself within myself for all those years. I don’t want to identify myself with that pain any longer. ~

    I was rejected by this person with no explanation. My guess is, I was too overbearing but my intuition kept telling me to try. It’s hurts. I forgive.

    My one Christmas wish is that he’ll reconsider, and, at the very least, say Merry Christmas to me.

    Merry Christmas, Lori & all.

  • kat

    hi jasmine, it means a lot to me to read what you wrote. i also opened myself up for the first time to someone in a relationship and ended up being too demanding of their energy and time. it felt so wonderful to be my true self. however, all my insecurities and fears came to the surface, and i now need to work on those inner issues. and the rejection still hurts very badly. how do you forgive yourself? how do you work on being better? how do you hold on to that wish that they’ll reconsider after you’ve both healed and grown as individuals?

  • Guest

    Today is the first Christmas I have spent alone in 36 years, and the melancholia is heavy. Thank you for this reminder that there is plenty to be thankful for.

  • This is beautiful, Thank you!

  • Linda1978

    Thank you for this writing. It’s just what I needed today

  • jhaygo

    My father shared his “Wisdom from experience” with all of his children this Christmas. He wrote two volumes of his adventures growing up. It is wonderful and I’m finding myself sharing them with my children. It was the best present ever!

  • stephanie

    love this, thank u!

  • Jeet

    Thank you, Lori! Happy Holidays! 🙂

  • Guest

    If only some people would practice what they preach

  • andrea

    this is a keeper:)

  • Swallow

    I found this article so supportive and connecting for the day. The first Christmas in 31 years I spent alone – due to the fact that I’ve spent so much time learning how to respect myself. The happiest & sadest I’ve been in a while.

    From this – I get the inspiration that it will bet better and that I gave myself the gift I deserved the most.

    Thabk you for the inspiration & encouragement.

    May you have peace.

  • Mark Hermann

    Thank you, Lori for such a thoughtful reminder of the true gifts we have to appreciate every day that don’t come in wrapping paper but are right there for us to give and to receive.

    Today, after opening all the presents with my kids and the madness of that part of Christmas behind me, the best gift of all was watching my 3 1/2 year old little boy splashing around with his new bubble bath a little while ago. Seeing the pure joy in his smile at the most simple thing as taking a bath reminds me to be present now as he’ll only be this age for but a moment.

    An awesome gift for sure.

    All the best,


  • Although I do not celebrate Christmas, I acknowledge the season and its spirit of community. There are few times during the year in which people put aside differences to come together in peace. When I see the movement to disavow the season and wither the vine from which these blessings grow, I wonder what folks may have to replace what they seek to deny. Too often they will seek alternatives when they haven’t availed themselves of what they have right in their hands. One does not have to profess an undying allegiance to something in order to enjoy it and what it espouses. And it needn’t be renamed. It needn’t be restructured. It simply is.

    As a country, as a world, we are diverse enough, yet of a single mind, in desiring peace…at least as a rest stop…to avail ourselves of the opportunity presented by, if not ours, the faith or belief system of others. There’s good in every one. Rather than battle and defense, recognition and acceptance should prevail. If we weave together enough pauses from partisanship, we may find a pattern of peace forming on the loom.

    Shalom, and blessings to all.

    ~ Mark

  • Alysa

    Thank you, this really helped me today

  • Olivia

    Thank you 🙂

  • sahaguru

    The region and religion, taught many things,but the fundamentalstaught, we never either practice or promote. Though we are from five elements, the stagnant wateris our life,as amoeba, which inturn turns as plantcell and animalcell. The firstperson rescue after your birth is Oxygen for animalcell,and the outcome, carbondioxideis for plantcell. Nothis moreis required to continue the life,but to grow, weneed food,which the plantspresents forus,and our output after consumption, extracting the energy, the remainder is feed for the animalplants.This is a everlostingprocess in the lifecycle. Dependancy on thenature,turnsinto thedependancy ofman made materials, the realmoney of the man, is pushed back side,before the man made money , which turned black money,butthe God gift, the spermatozoon, thebullshit is tillwhite, in the formof SUKLAM. tHE LIGHTIS APRODUCT OF FIRE,THE FIRE IS DEPENDANT ON AIR, No air,no fire,no fire no light, no fire in the man no new life in the woman. Acceptanceof the woman is great, otherwise,to whomthe man will give his hard earned kin in the skin togrow his kinsfolk. If the world make amold with this phenomenon all the intuitions which cannot beputin words,can be framed in words,tounderstand the progene, the engines of future.

  • You’re most welcome. Happy Holidays to you as well!

  • You’re most welcome!

  • You’re welcome. Happy holidays to you as well!

  • You’re welcome 🙂

  • You’re welcome! Happy holidays!

  • Thanks Sean. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  • I couldn’t agree more Amber. I’m so thrilled to know this site provides that!

  • You’re welcome Don. I love that idea, that love is divine.

  • Well said 🙂

  • I hope you get your Christmas wish, or if not the healing and peace to move forward. You are in my thoughts!

  • I’m sure that was a beautiful gift! Nothing compares to childlike joy and innocence. 🙂

  • You’re most welcome!

  • You’re welcome. I’m glad it helped!

  • I’m with you there Mark! I don’t celebrate the religious part if the day, but I grew up Christian, and I’ve never stopped appreciating what the season represents. I also appreciate that it means something to my loved ones, even if it means something different to me.

  • You are most welcome. I’m glad you gave yourself that gift, even if today was hard. May you gave peace as well.

  • Glad you enjoyed it Andrea!

  • That sounds like a wonderful gift! Happy Holidays 🙂

  • You’re most welcome 🙂

  • Thank you, and you’re welcome!

  • You’re welcome. I’m so sorry to hear you spent the day alone. I am sending good thoughts your way!

  • Ting

    This is another great Christmas gifts that I have received this year ! Thank you !

  • You are most welcome!

  • I love what you’ve written about the gifts of this season. Most cultures have traditions celebrating the power of light around this winter solstice moment of utter darkness. Specific interpretation vary from culture to culture, but most incorporate recognition of hope. As Christmas for Christians, the birth of the light of the world; Hanukkah for Jews, the dedication of lights; Bodhi Day for Buddhists, the day Buddha experienced enlightenment; Diwali for Hindus, the festival of lights; Eid al-Adha for Muslims, commemorating Abraham’s willingness to follow God; among many others. Let’s breathe deeply and be grateful!

  • Every christmas, I would think of myself as a scrooge. I thought being cynical was being realistic [and smart] and would complain about everything and everyone in my head if not out loud. But during the course of this year, I learned the value of these gifts that Lori beseeches us to give & receive. This year, I cried at midnight when hugging the people I love. This year, I said “thank you” out loud and embraced the moment with full gratitude, faith & joy. It was beautiful and I promised myself to never again forget about being mindful and fully accepting the present moment as it is. Thank you Lori for sharing your kind words and I hope to read more from you soon! 🙂

  • Thank you Lori. All of these gifts are precious to give and receive every day. I love the simple essence of giving and receiving what you already can – time,understanding,etc. Its when we focus on what we don’t have to give or receive that we make ourselves, and others, unhappy. I feel very blessed these holidays, but nothing is ever ‘perfect’. I wrote my Christmas post about the need to forget the ‘perfect’ and look for the wonder. Judging by the comments, you have given a very precious gift to those who are feeling their Christmas was far less than ‘perfect’.

  • You’re most welcome, and thank you for sharing your story. What a beautiful realization and experience to have!

  • Thanks Nadine! I love recognizing that our varied celebrations all have the same meaning and message. It reminds us we’re all in this together, no matter what beliefs may seem to separate us.

  • I love that, about forgetting the perfect and looking for the wonder. My boyfriend always says that happiness is about creating moments of awe–staying open to those things that make us feel alive, grateful, and humbled. I appreciate knowing that my post might also be a gift to others. Thank you so much. =)

  • Jay

    Thank you

  • It’s true that feeling alive and realizing that you are here in this world is one of the biggest gift given to us that we can feel. You explained this thing really well!
    And somewhere I think that giving gifts, you mentioned above, to others is also one of the way of helping your own self.

    For eg. If we give our ears and our full attention to someone else, then in turn we also get to listen someone else’s experience and learn from it.

    Another example is of forgiveness. I always believe that forgiving someone is a favor that you do more to yourself than the other person.

    So, ummm..If I want to add anything to your list, the 5 things you wrote as gifts to others, are also gifts to your own soul.. 🙂

  • I posted links to this piece on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter as I wanted more to see what you’d wrote.

  • You’re most welcome. =)

  • I love that, and so true! I think when we give, we always receive something; and when we receive, we always give something. Just last night, a friend of mine was saying how it’s a good thing to let someone else be the giver (for people who are accustomed to always being the generous one) because giving feels so good. Gifts to your soul indeed. =)

  • Sati

    what a beautiful article, and completely from the heart. There is so much to gain from the simple things in life only if we are able to be fully aware of the wonderful things to be grateful for. I am a single mother and sometimes feel lonely at this time of the year when I wish I could celebrate with a soulmate but reading this article makes me appreciate my life so much more. Thank you for the beautiful reminder.

  • You are most welcome. Your children are fortunate to have a mother who recognizes and celebrates the things that really matter in life. =)

  • Xio

    Thank you so much for this article! It’s always nice to read little reminders such this one. I know that I do need to work on my forgiveness, as I am a person who tends to obsess about things and find it very difficult to let it go. I’ve recently experienced rejection and as much as I’m trying to find a sense of the whole situation I can’t and as much as I want this person to come back and say we are ok with each other I know it won’t happen. Articles such this one give me a new perspective on how to handle situations such as the one I’m experiencing at this moment. Again thank you!!!

  • You’re most welcome! I’ve been there before, and I know how hard it can be to let go. I’ve found it gets easier with time though–most things do. I’m sending good thoughts your way!