Gift #1: Time
The first gift on the list is time. What is more precious than that, these days? Seriously. Think about it. We are all busy. Both you and the person you care for. Right? So gifting time (especially at this crazy time of year!) powerfully communicates respect, value, and affection for another person.
There are many ways to give time, but here are a few suggestions.
For spouses, if you want this to be an actual “I spent money on you” gift, show them you want to spend time with them by giving tickets to a special ballet, sporting event, concert or show that they have been wanting to see. So many people in the research have mentioned that a shared experience-related gift is special because it says, “I know you, what you care about … and I want to spend time with you.” For tighter budgets, a coupon book of walks, coffee dates, or going to a free museum show the same kind of love.
What about other ideas — including for other relationships, like family members, friends, or co-workers? A powerful gift of time could be as simple as setting aside time to listen to problems, offer advice, or even take them to lunch. It could mean turning completely away from your computer when your daughter comes into your home office and wonders when you can watch Frozen with her, or your son asks when you could play the new Xbox game with him. When you save what is on your screen, and say “What about now?” that is a very crucial message to your child (or spouse or parent) that in the middle of your time crunch, you are prioritizing them.The couples I studied for The Kindness Challenge practiced this gift of time by rearranging their schedule to be more available for their spouse. And the impact is huge. In fact, for those who prioritize being more available to their partners, eighty-four percent report being happy in marriage.
Women especially value time. In my book For Men Only, my research found 70 percent of married women essentially said they would give up financial security for more time with their husbands. Ultimately, a husband spending time at home with his family might be the best gift he could give during any season.