“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the bigthings.” - Robert Brault
During a conversation with a good friend, I asked her how her holidays went. She looked at me with tears forming in her eyes and told me that she received her best Christmas gift ever. I was expecting her to tell me about a gift certificate to a spa or a new set of expensive cookware she wanted. Instead, she told me that her son had been living across country and, because of work and financial issues, wasn’t able to make it home for the holidays for several years.
This year, he surprised her by flying home for a few days. As they were opening presents Christmas morning, he turned to her and said that he was sorry he didn’t bring her a gift. She told me that she looked at him curiously and exclaimed, “But you did bring me a gift … you! You are the best gift I have received in a long time.”
The gift of family … of good friends … of time. Those are the “little things” that can mean the most. Yet, during the hustle and the bustle and the shopping and the cooking, we tend to lose sight of what really matters. The perfectionist in us all plans out the best celebrations and searches for the most fitting gifts, but when it comes down to it, it’s the spontaneous moments and quiet time spent with family and friends that counts. Decorating, baking and gift giving all make the holidays special, but the little moments make them magical.
Learning to appreciate the smaller things in life and celebrating the people you love is a wonderful gift to carry with you all year long. Here are five ways you can carry that magical part of the holidays into the New Year and beyond:
The typical morning routine begins with the alarm sounding, shower running and workday starting. We get so caught up in our daily routine, we tend to neglect and take for granted the person right next to us in bed.
Every morning, try to be mindful of your loved one’s presence and appreciate the moment you have together before you have to start your busy day. Set your alarm 10-15 minutes earlier, even, so you can cuddle for a few minutes. Discuss your upcoming day, tell them you love them, or just snuggle quietly. Whatever you do, make the morning more meaningful. This will get both of you off on the right start.
Communicating is key to any good relationship. Sometimes, however, we go through our days and only communicate with others when we need something. Start communicating when you want to, when there is really no reason other than to say hello. Even if it’s a quick text message or a funny emoji, it’s a great way to remind someone that you are thinking about them. And remember to respond when someone calls or texts you because they want to – it will make both of you feel good.
When you communicate with others, try to think of something that will make their day more special or lift their spirits. The littlest things like, “I can’t stop thinking about you” or “You looked beautiful this morning” are all that are needed. If your child needs a little boost, sticking an uplifting note in their lunchbox or backpack can do the trick. It even works with strangers. Saying something nice, noticing someone’s good deeds or complimenting a person’s appearance will give them a better attitude and increase your mood, as well.
Unplanned moments can be some of the most memorable. Whether it’s by yourself, with someone special or with the entire family, doing something spontaneous can be uplifting and fun. On a nice day, pack a lunch and take a drive to a lake or park. Pull out the Lego’s and spend the afternoon in creative play with your child. Enjoy breakfast in bed and see where It leads. Making decisions at the spur of the moment can turn out special.
Take time to notice things. Slow down, breathe and appreciate the one life you have. When your spouse is engaged in his favorite sporting event on TV, join him. Sit quietly next to him and just enjoy his presence, appreciate the time together. When your children are sitting at the kitchen table doing homework while you cook dinner, stop and just watch them for a while – before you know it, they will be grown and off on their own! You can’t slow or stop time, but when you start appreciating the little moments in life, every day will seem more magical!