Thanksgiving is over and—you guessed it! —the month of months is about to begin. It normally takes a bit of coaxing, but Kathie and I eventually get “Santa’s List” from our grandchildren’s parents. Those lists look very different from what we once scribbled on dog-eared index cards. In our family, the parents often create an online document they share with the larger extended family noting the specifics of what our crown jewels want. It couldn’t be any easier. 

With Deck the Halls droning “’tis the season to be jolly,” we all know it’s the season of giving. And a very good season it is! Clients may never tell us, but I imagine they have a list of wants that may have our names on it. If asked, what would your clients say is on a gift list headlined with your name? 

They may need us to be better listeners, more understanding of their aversion to risk, or the longing they have for us to understand the unique family challenges they face. My guess is we would connect with them better if we were a bit more transparent, revealing more of who we are rather than focusing so much on what we want from them.

Yes, for people of faith and of no faith, it’s the giving season. Think of unwritten gift lists. What if we moved away from what we will give those closest to us—think purchase for them—and included a focus on giving more of ourselves to them? 

How would our clients factor into that subtle shift that captures the difference between “for” and “to?”

What if the one un-buyable gift we would share with our family and clients this season and into 2023 would be more heartfelt conversations? Capture for a moment a mental picture of your family. If you are married or in a committed relationship, start with the person closest to you. Turn off the TV, put down the phone or tablet, and shut off all exterior distractions. What if you asked that person what intangible, relational gift he or she would like to unwrap from you this season? “What do you most need from me?” Or, “I know I can give more of me to us going. Please tell me what that ‘more’ is.”

What if you asked a friend what he or she would like to know about you that has been undiscovered or unshared? You could even begin that conversation by saying something like, “Your friendship really matters to me. Here’s why.” And then say it! 

You could have the same conversation with a long-term client or colleague. You might share a story about why they mean so much to you. Then be ready to hear the other person’s story. Such are the gifts no amount of money can buy!

The giving has begun. Every person on your list will welcome and, yes, cherish any gift you give that comes from the heart. My faith has taught me that the more I give away, the more I have to give. This season, consider creating a transformational list that includes gifts that never age or break. Find moments in the weeks to come to have those heartfelt conversations with people who matter to you. Do this and the holidays will become more memorable, unlike any you have known in a long, long time.

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