As the holidays are rapidly approaching, we tend to get wrapped up in the busy-ness of the times, rushing around with all the activities, meetings, parties, shopping, and cooking. Rather than the materialistic perspective, we should be taking some time to take stock of our lives, to feel the gratitude for all the blessings we have in our lives. No matter what your circumstances are, there are always things you can be grateful for in your life. Appreciation is a way of giving thanks to our higher Source.

The Law of Giving is one of the fundamental laws of the Universe. What most people may not realize is that giving is a cycle. In order to give, you must receive. And in order to receive, you must also give. I do not believe we are taught to receive very well. If someone gives you a compliment like “I love your new haircut”, do you shrug it off or try to dismiss it because you get embarrassed by the attention, “Oh, I can’t stand my hair, it‘s never how I like it.” Or sometimes we feel obligated to return the compliment. That would be ok, if we meant it…but do we really?

Giving is something that needs to come from the heart, without any sort of expectation. You give for the pleasure of giving and making someone else happy.

My daughter recently asked me what was the best Christmas memory I had. I thought about it for a while and then told her it was when I had given my daughters their handmade quilts. I had taken their baby clothes and started cutting squares in February of that particular year. I worked on making these quilts off and on all year and my daughters even helped with a part of it. I was hand sewing everything until in November when I was able to borrow a sewing machine. Then it went much faster. I stayed up late several nights to get them done after the girls had gone to bed so they wouldn’t see them.

Considering I had never made a quilt before in my life, these were definitely labors of love! My daughters eyes glowed when they opened those quilts and even though they got plenty of toys, those quilts were their favorite presents that year. To this day, they both still sleep with “mommy’s quilt”. I had told them that first night they slept with them that these special quilts were just like me hugging them all night long. Of course, the mommy quilts became even more significant when we were separated for 1400 days. My daughters were snuggled in my love every night through those quilts.

The best presents are the ones that come from the heart. We assume it needs to be material objects but what about our love, a hug, or tell someone how much they mean to you in a nice letter or card. You can give someone your encouragement or faith or trust—things that are not tangible yet very valuable. Think about this as the holidays approach. What has been the best present you’ve ever given, or received, and why? And what can you give this year that will make a difference with those you love?

Author's Bio: 

Karin Volo is an expert in career and personal development, she's known as a Tough Transition Specialist and a Dream Life Mentor. Karin is the transformational author of the Bringing Joy series and one of the best selling authors of Turning Points. Her passion is enhancing peoples lives by inspiring and teaching strategies to thrive through tough times, live joyfully, and create their dream lives. Join her Inspiring Lives publication, full of inspiring stories and resources at