It’s just stuff! Have you hauled out all your Christmas decorations? Are you frantically thinking about what you are going to buy for your spouse, your kids, your brothers, sisters and friends for Christmas? What about your staff? Do you buy them a gift each year or give them a bonus? Are you feeling panicked?
As I wandered down the isles of Costco the other day, I looked at all the STUFF stacked high on either side of me. Decorations, candles, platters, glassware, pillows, socks and chocolates. So much stuff! When did this season become about stuff? What does it all mean? I felt almost physically I’ll and I couldn’t wait to get out of the store!
Perhaps my angst comes from having so recently lost my mom and spending the last six weeks going through her stuff, sorting, remembering, dividing, giving or throwing away so much that she insisted on moving with when we bought her condo in April of this year. If she thought she would one day use something, or of it had any kind of a memory attached to it, she kept it. She was not a hoarder, but she was a pack rat! Add to that her love (which I share) of second hand shops, antiques and thrift store treasure hunts!
My point? Remember the ancient Chinese fable of the visitor to a monk’s quarters that contained only a bed and a small table. “Where are all your things?” asked the visitor. “Where are YOURS?” answered the monk. “I am but a visitor passing through, sir. I do not need all my things on this trip”. “Yes” said the monk, “as are we all”.
This year, I am not doing “Stuff”. For my closest family and friends, I plan to give the gift of time and experiences. Passes to the museum, movie nights, meals together. I may never do stuff again! The message behind this kind of gift is so much more meaningful and is what I want to convey to those I care about and value.
As you prepare for Christmas, what message do you want to give? How can you show your staff how much you appreciate and value them? Can you give them the gift of your time? How can you tell them that you care about their lives and their families? What can you give that conveys how you feel and carries so much more weight than a sweater or a trinket, dollars, or more STUFF?