6 (FREE) Gifts That Will Make Your Family Feel Ridiculously Loved

family love

What's better than a stocking full of "stuff" this holiday? The answer is simple ..

The season of "giving" (also known as the season of "getting") has finally arrived. Generally, we end up with lots of stuff from friends and family that we really don't want (or need). Though the gestures are nice, in reality no one likes fruit cake, and the scarf from your co-worker likely came straight out of their re-gifting closet.

So, what can you give that's truly special, instead of the usual Starbucks gift cards and Target candles? Well, as an expert of relationships expert, I see a great unmet need in the gift giving world.

There's a gift people are absolutely craving ... the gift of YOU! 

And by that I mean, you being real and actually showing up for them. Nothing feels better than someone you love caring enough to plug in and pay attention.

So, this holiday, skip the over-priced "stuff" and give what matters instead, YOU! Here are 7 ways you can do so that will make others feel valued and loved: 

1. Quit complaining

The world is so stressful these days. We're constantly bombarded with all sorts of negativity. When we get together with those we're close to—whether a partner or friend—we look for "an oasis in the desert." The last thing we want to hear is more negativity. Take a personal negativity check, and if you tend to be a complainer, reel it in. 

2. Take real interest

Okay, sure. You ask those close to you how they are, but do you really listen to their response? Or do you immediately let your mind flutter off to more important things? When you and your make first got together, everything they told you was important to you. You paid attention to them and to the details. And they felt loved by you as a result. It's time to get back to that behavior and make it more of a habit. Watch those around you light up in the warmth of your attention. Now that's a gift! 

3. Be sensitive to other's situations

Lucky you. You have a perfect life—happily married and maybe even a couple of cute grandkids. When you're out with friends, be aware of their life situation. Yes, they politely listen to your tails of happiness (and they're likely happy for you), but it's not always enjoyable for them to hear you go on and on about all you have if they're still wishing for some of their own. Share a few less stories about you and perhaps invite them to share a few more about what's making them feel happy and successful these days. 

Or, if you know friends can't afford the restaurants or pricey drinks you enjoy, suggest a place to meet up where they can relax and focus on time spent together, not wasting time worrying about the bill. 

4. The little things matter

Part of being a couple is the business of living. So, that includes the usual chores of food shopping, doing the laundry, taking out the garbage, preparing dinner ... you get the point. Sure these are mundane tasks, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be appreciated. Acknowledging what your partner does will send the message, "You matter."

5. Your opinion counts

Nobody likes someone who's wishy-washy or flip-flops. Alternatively, being a "know-it-all" isn't appealing either. You're entitled to your opinion, and so is the other person. So, when you're going to voice your opinion, state it as such and be willing to hear what the others have to say.

6. Protect their feelings

You've probably learned that public displays of affection might be a bit embarrassing to others. Well, so can pointing out your partner's faults in public. Not only can it make others feel uncomfortable, but doing this is one of the biggest breaches of trust in a relationship. If something upsets you, you need to talk about it with your mate in private.

There's probably a bunch more of these gifts, but it's a good start. My guess is that if you can get into this mindset, you can think of many more on your own. As I said, they won't cost you anything financially, but I know they'll offer you a whole lot from a relationship point-of-view. Happy giving!

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