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Three Last Minute Gift Ideas That Bring Peace and Smiles

Three Last Minute Gift Ideas That Bring Peace and Smiles

My brother-in-law, Kurt, would always wait until the last minute to send us a gift. It was not like he was searching for the perfect gift. He would always send money, as late as possible. One year, it even arrived on Christmas Day. He was generous and fun. We miss Kurt. He still reminds me of the ultimate last-minute gift giver.

How about you? Need some last-minute gift ideas that will not break the bank as well as bring peace and smiles?

#1 – The Gift of Encouragement. This gift does not cost a thing yet brings a powerful effect. Write a hand-written letter, not just a note, with the healing and uplifting words of encouragement. Depression and anxiety levels have risen to records high in our nation. People are maxed out. When stress is high, patience is low. Our family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors get our worst instead of our best. Those closest to us often receive the brunt of our frustration and anger. In the letter, specifically, call out character traits and actions unique to them that you and others value. My wife and I spend a decent amount of time separated these days between new grandbabies and caring for aging parents. We have a tradition of writing to each other every day while separated. During one week of separation, I wrote Sharlyne a note every day calling out a specific character trait or actions which not only I but others appreciate about her. She printed those out and place them in our fireproof safe. Without really thinking much about it, I gave her a gift of a lifetime. Words are powerful. Steward them wisely. Give a gift to others that does not cost a thing that will last a lifetime.

#2 – The Gift of Time. This is the gift that keeps on giving. For my 60th birthday, Sharlyne and my kids created a book of pictures with letters from each child and significant others. I treasure the book for all the reasons mentioned above. As I read each letter from my children, one thing stood out. Time. I was busy but made space for weekly Daddy Dates with my kids. I made space in the mornings to cook breakfast and blessed them before going off to school. The gift of time can be special moments that came from planning and intention. And, the gift of time can be simply showing up and being present moment by moment, day by day. How about wrapping a present of time this Christmas? A weekly “date” with your spouse. Don’t need to spend much money. You can take turns planning your weekly time together. The focus is time, not elaborate and expensive dates. How about your kids or friends? Create space regularly in your calendar. If something got in my calendar, then it happened. Without clearing the space, chances of it happening were rare.

#3 – The Gift of Serving. You may be a server constantly thinking of how to help others. If serving others is not top of mind for you, this can be an amazing gift to others around you. How about doing all the dishes for the Christmas meal? Or how about recycling boxes and Christmas paper after gifts are opened? Want a stretch? Plan to come back the day after Christmas to help clean. You can help take down Christmas decorations after New Year’s. Even better, think of something your partner, friend, co-worker, or neighbor would appreciate all year. Shoveling snow, bringing in the garbage cans, getting or making coffee, mopping the floors, making food, and so many other ways to serve that simply tell others you care. Life is not about you. Life is about sharing and caring. Give the gift of serving for Christmas and all year. Sharlyne is naturally a server. When I serve her, it speaks volumes. Little things like cleaning her car, loading the dishwasher, making her a latte constantly communicate she is important and loved.

There you have it. Three simple gifts that will not break the bank and bring peace and smiles to those you love. Merry Christmas from Doctor Peace.

Three Last Minute Gift Ideas That Bring Peace and Smiles

Three Last Minute Gift Ideas That Bring Peace and Smiles

for many


this is one of the most difficult Thanksgivings for some time. Loved ones are missing around the table. Health workers are stretched thin as hospitals are filling up. In many states, restrictions are preventing families from gathering. For some, that is a good thing because family is a hard thing. Anxiety is becoming a pandemic as well as COVID-19. People are fearful and depressed. We are Zoomed out. We long for some sense of normalcy of a pre-COVID world. When will it end? Peace is evasive. Hard to be thankful for much in 2020.

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude can create peace in your heart and the hearts of others around you this Thanksgiving.

1. Cultivate gratitude in yourself. It all begins with YOU! If you want peace, you need to get your peace together! A great starting point? Gratitude. Simply start your day, every day, with this simple exercise of filling in the blank. “ I am gratitude today for ________________.” I have journaled for over 40 years. I have 40 years of cultivating a heart of gratitude. What is the result of a heart of gratitude?

  • Gratitude helps your relationships, all of them!
  • Gratitude improves your physical health.
  • Gratitude improves your mental health.
  • Gratitude increases empathy and decreases anger.

  • Gratitude helps you sleep better.
  • Gratitude improves your self-esteem.

(based on Forbes article in 2014 by Amy Morin)

2. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude for family.

  • Handwrite Thank You notes to family members, all of them, even the grouchy ones!
  • Think of something very specific and unique to the family member and WHY you are grateful.
  • For fun, include a simple gift: a gift card, tea bag, candy bar, etc. The gift should be something the person would enjoy and conveys your thoughtfulness.
  • Tell them of your gratitude. What is better than a handwritten note with a small gift? Speaking words of gratitude directly to the person, face to face (or FaceTime to FaceTime in our COVID world).

In September, my wife lost her dad. She was so grateful she had planned to see her parents and the plane ticket was already purchased and time set aside. She was able to see her dad almost every day for the last week of his life in the hospital. She was grateful the health care workers allowed the family to gather around his bedside. For other loved ones during COVID, they died alone. Be grateful for every day with people you love. Let them know it. May your grateful heart of peace spill over to family creating peace for them as well.

3. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude for your community.

  • During COVID, neighbors became friends. Younger neighbors shopped for older neighbors.
  • Neighbors held virtual Happy Hours across the street from one another.
  • Co-workers covered for each other when one was sick.
  • People stayed home to keep others safe.
  • In isolation, people longed for people. We wanted to feel human touch, we wanted to hear a human voice, we wanted to see a human face (not just virtually). We needed community. We are grateful for our tribes.
  • We realized we matter to one another. As much as the media would tell us otherwise, there is far more that unites us than divides us.

I am grateful for community: my team, my neighbors, my House Church, my city, and for those who serve us all. These people most of all need to hear “Thank You”. Thank you for serving. Thank you for sacrificing. Thank you for caring for those whom you have never met. And for those whom we know, let them know our gratitude. Tell them. Often. Help them to never forget. May your grateful heart of peace pass peace to your community. And, when peace becomes viral, maybe, just maybe, we will begin living in a more peaceful world.