Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.

As the above quote from the French philosopher, Simone Weil, points out, to give of ourselves is the truest gift of all. The beauty of giving of ourselves means we all experience the benefits. It’s not only nice for the receiver, but it offers the giver sustained goodness & joy as well.

I don’t know about you, but I can always use some extra goodness & joy around the holidays. Now, for that NO-SHOP Gift List that we promised. You don’t have to ditch your real shopping list, but this is our answer to offering your whole heart while flexing the generosity muscle.


  • For the kid explorers in your life, plan a no-cost, super fun adventure. Go “geocaching.” Geocaching is the world’s largest treasure hunt. There are more than 3-million “caches” or little containers which are hidden all over the world, probably many really close to you right now. As long as you have a smartphone or laptop, you can partake in the scavenger hunt. You navigate and search for the camouflaged box. It’s not about what’s in the box, (which usually contains a handwritten log of those who found it and a small trinket like a shell, or interesting rock,) but the time spent together on the hunt. Learn more about geocaching here. Your kids will appreciate the thrill and they will remember hanging out with you as the adventure unfolds.

  • Read a great chapter book aloud to your kids over several days or weeks—not one of those quickie board books. Designate a time each day to step into the mind and shoes of an exciting lead character! Commit to books that have real cliff hanger chapter changes, etc. Give your all, mom & dad! This is where you need to tap into your inner drama major. Think about how wonderful the audio recordings of books are. Kids get the same level of fun but with their parents’ voices and with live action. This builds real intimacy in a family. For a list of great books, depending on ages and interests, check out this wonderful site. No need to buy books—the library offers great selections.

  • Create a fun music playlist of tunes tailored to a particular kid. It’s like a mix-tape, 21st century style. Tap into Spotify, and include songs that will suit their personality or that will provide an inside joke or connection. Then, crank it up and watch them smile!



  • Plan a date night! What husband or wife won’t appreciate being given some special attention that requires no planning by the recipient?! This is often overlooked, but it’s crucial to sustaining a good relationship. (Last week’s email shared some no-cost date night ideas, including an evening stroll, a romantic drive, and a home cooked meal with special background music reminiscent of your wedding or a special memory.) It’s fine to keep it simple, but remember to be truly present, which means no phones or computers allowed!

  • Offer to entertain the kids so that a spouse can do something just for him or herself—whether it’s hanging out with friends, taking a long (uninterrupted) soak in the tub, or spending some time outdoors recharging his/her spirit. No guilt strings attached!

  • Write a letter to your beloved! Don’t overthink it. If you’re not a word person, you don’t need to break into poetry. It could be something as simple as sharing the top ten things you love about him/her. Whatever you write, make it personal and real. If possible, handwrite it rather than type it up. It will take more effort, but what a keeper!



  • Do a check-in. Call or visit a friend or family member and ask the person how their day is going on a scale from 1-10. If they say 5, ask how you can help get it to a 6. This may seem super simple, but you’d be surprised how many people are craving that type of care and concern, especially in the isolation of COVID quarantines.

  • If you’re a religious/ spiritual individual, ask someone how you can pray for him/her. Ask them to be specific. Then go to the mats and start praying. Lift that individual up in your prayer intentions throughout the day and text them to let them know you’re storming heaven for them.

  • Make something for someone. Tap into your natural God-given gifts. Are you a great photographer? Take a beautiful pic of their family. An artist? Create something. How about polishing up his/her resume? Consider your abilities and their needs and craft the perfect personalized homemade gift.

The point here is—time & attention. Put that in everyone’s stocking this year and behold the inner transformations of everyone involved. True generosity is always on sale and never costs a penny. No pressure, but there are exactly 17 NO SHOPPING days left. Psst! Get off Amazon now and go find someone to shower with generosity.

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