Makin’ a list; checkin’ it twice…

You thought you’d have a break after Thanksgiving to back-off the turkey bloat and reload for the Next Big Day. You’re suffering from Pandemic-Era forgetfulness; the demand is now relentless.

Last Friday didn’t get canceled because of politics or pandemic. Retail didn’t have to be “back” to pre-pandemic conditions for the crush that was Black Friday to occur. Consumer goods may be backed-up on container ships off the coast of Southern California, but Amazon is still hiring and their van fleet is expanding faster than touchdowns did at last week’s USC/UCLA game.

Yep, that’s rightwe’re two days from December 1st, and you know what you need to do…

In your Monday-Friday life at work, there’s no break in the action. You’ve got numbers to hit; quotas to reach; customers to lavish with Omaha Steaks or Starbucks cards. Appreciation lunches to host; industry parties to mingle; kids’ school programs to attend; all of that, played against background music that portrays a simpler time – when a manger scene was not a punishable offense – when wise men were looking for something other than an opening-day shot at an IPO.

Black FridaySmall Business SaturdayCyber MondayBuy, buy, buy. The days denoting consumer action have opened the Mania of the Month: there are shrinking shopping days ‘til Christmas. But… is there a higher-value list that won’t post a debit on your credit card?

While you do what you have to do for the people in your life, how about running a parallel track that will be remembered beyond the return-merchandise cycle of most holiday gift exchanges?

Here’s the ideainclude a hand-written note with every package you wrap and gift. In the note, focus on extending one – only one – of the relational expressions that will enhance your connection. In four sentences or less, communicate to them your:

Compassion: have they been through the wringer this last year? Are they hurting for the holidays? Tell them that you know that they’re in need of a hug, and you’ll deliver when you next see them.

Availability: friendships are like plants; they need to be watered to thrive. Offer them two hours of your life; they get to pick. Packing to move? Walk through the park? A long lunch? Offer time.

Forgiveness: is there an elephant in the room? Did something come up during ‘21 that strained your connection but no one wants to mention it? If it’s not nuclear, give ‘em a pass and start over!

Encouragement: are they poised on the threshold of a new challenge, and wondering whether they have what it takes? Tell them they’ve got what it takes; give them the courage they need to win!

Honor: did they achieve something this year that proved their mettle but was forgotten in less time than it took to accomplish? Reframe the picture of their accomplishment and make ‘em look!

Acceptance: have some differences-of-opinion (not “sin”) come up between you since last year’s holidays that put a strain on the relationship? Dismiss the dissonance and embrace variety!

Here’s the realityyour friends don’t need more stuff. The American approach to Christmas: spend money you don’t have on people you don’t like to give them things they don’t need. Put a bow on it and call it a holiday. What would be more valuable: a bow on the box? or, a note under the ribbon?

Buy yourself a gift: head to Amazon and get a box of use-them-anytime note cards, with envelopes but no canned verbiage inside. Set aside an evening to write all of the notes – one for everyone on your “gift list” – and make ‘em personal. It takes three minutes each, tops.

My guaranteeyou’ll make more Christmas memories than you could imagine…

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