Ohhhh the holidays. You might love them. You might hate them. You might love to hate them or hate to love them. However you feel, they most likely elicit a fairly strong emotional response. What IS it about the holidays that’s so all-consuming?
Take a minute and think about some of your most vivid holiday memories. You might have one or two memories about getting something you wanted ohhh so bad, but most of our memories are about the people that we’ve spent them with throughout the years and the traditions that were created along the way. If you woke up your parents at 5 am and they snuck downstairs to make sure the coast was clear from the jolly old man in red, chances are, you do some version of this with your kids too.
Growing up my mom always went out and found the perfect REAL tree, and now I have the privilege of getting to do this with my own kids. I still get that magical feeling as when I was little, and on top of that get to see the magic in my kid’s eyes. Sure It’s a pain in the neck, the needles get everywhere and this year I got the Griswold sap glove after putting the tree in its base where everything I touched for 24-hours stuck to my hand like crazy glue. Note to self, once sap is on, it ain’t coming off till it’s ready.
Oh and let’s not ignore the gift portion of the holidays. In 2016, Cindy Chan, assistant professor at U of T Scarborough's Department of Management and the Rotman School of Management, published a study where she found that experiential gifts were more valuable to recipients than material gifts. The reason? Experiential gifts hit your emotional and relationship cores right in the sweet spot. Chan’s research was different than studies from the past because instead of focusing on whether a gift recipient LIKED the gift, she focused on how the gift affected the relationship between the gift-giver and the recipient.
Experiential gifts help nurture relationships. Even if you don’t participate in the actual using of the gift, it strengthens your bond because the recipient still associates you with the experience. That’s how strong the connection between relationships and experiences is!
Whatever holiday rituals you have, whether it’s presents accompanied by a Menorah or Xmas tree, they’re probably geared toward strengthening the bond with your family. Don’t let this momentum in your relationship core fade this year. Keep that extra magic you give to your family gong all year.
Sunday night dinners with the whole family or game nights with the kiddos on Friday nights are traditions that strengthen your relationships all year long. Level it up by putting away cell phones and putting your 5%er relationship skills to use! Look your loved ones in the eye, ask meaningful questions and be present in the experience. After all, relationships are FRA-GEE-LAY and deserve to be treasured.
I wish you all the happiest of holidays and a year ahead of balanced cores and happy lives!
This Week's Action Tip:
Who do you love? In this digital day and age, it can be easy to hit the like button and think we're nurturing our relationships. But this week I challenge you to pick up the phone or visit someone you haven't talked to or seen in person in a while. I promise you, it will do wonders for your relationship and foster positive momentum in your life!