Posts tagged with ‘memories’

14 nov

The Greatest Holiday Gift

JayForteAh, the holiday season. And we are already bombarded with a Sunday paper that tips the scales with gift ads. TV and radio ads remind us of the best gifts to give, who not to forget and how to make the holidays special. Buy, buy, buy.

I don’t know about you but this can do a great job of interfering with the kind of holiday I want to have if I let it. I don’t want a holiday of stuff – I want a holiday of experiences and stories. I want a holiday of emotions and connection. I want the memories.

As kids, it wasn’t just the gifts that made us feel so terrific about the holidays, it was the memories of feeling important, cared for, loved and special. I remember very few of the gifts I received over so many past holidays. What I do remember instead is singing carols, having neighbors over, decorating the house and eating treats that only showed up at the holidays. When I think of these, I am immediately brought back to sitting by the Christmas tree. I can smell the evergreen. I can see the lights and tinsel. I can smell the cakes baking and can hear the laughing from the other rooms as neighbors come by. I am immediately transported to happy times. It was the event. It was the feeling. It wasn’t the stuff.

So here are some of my ideas of holiday gifts that move away from the stuff and go for the memories:

Hosting a party with friends where we celebrate our time together.

Having brunch with my kids where we can talk about life, their dreams of starting families and loving the moments we spend together.

Sending and receiving cards that say, though we haven’t spoken in a while, you are still in my thoughts.

Playing music that is festive and celebratory, inspiring a feeling of peace and calm.

Walking with friends, or as a family, through towns and streets decorated with things that are bright, happy and festive.

Telling stories around the table with parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, about what life was like, how each celebrated the holidays, and what made life great.

Stopping for a hot chocolate on a cold night, because we haven’t done it in a while and nothing beats the smell of hot chocolate – with whipped cream or marshmallow.

Taking an extra day off from work to be at home (not out shopping) and playing games, working on family projects or inventing a new recipe together.

Making a video where each person in the family, or each friend, records a memory of the holidays, then shares the message with the rest of the world on YouTube.

Committing the time to learn how to discuss and communicate about the things that are important to each member of the family – to help them discover their talents, strengths and passions and build a life they love.

Buying recycling bins and having everyone in the household learn how to recycle everything that can be recycled – a gift to the planet.

Being invited to, and sharing in, another person’s holiday traditions with an open mind and an appreciation for its importance to that person.

Selecting something that the receiver adores, and the giver does not add to his debt.

Holidays are terrific. They make us stop the routine and come together to celebrate. And giving seems very much a part of the holiday. But we don’t have to give until we’re broke. We also know that things never truly bring happiness, memories do.

A good friend of mine has a small artificial Christmas tree that he leaves up and lit all year. Each month, he, his wife and his son, exchange small gifts. As he told me, it is not about the gifts. It is about a small Christmas tree that stays lit all year in their house to remind them that every day is to be celebrated. Brilliant.

So as the holiday approaches, may you find new ways to celebrate. May the gifts you give and receive be personal, focused on feelings and create memories. Wishing you amazing holidays that you fondly remember forever.

Jay Forte is a business and motivational speaker, life and workplace coach. He is the author of the books, The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform the World, and Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to help them live fired up! More information at and

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Posted by Jay Forte on November 14th, 2010 in Family, General, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Teens, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,

14 mar

Daylight Changing Time

JayForteOnce a year we move the clocks ahead. We lose an hour. A priceless hour. This time of year reminds me of how precious our time is.

I was up in New England visiting family this weekend. Sitting at the table we were reminiscing about so many years – jobs, dates, schools, awards, detention, cars; we talked for hours. We laughed about good choices and were embarrassed about bad choices. We remembered the times in our lives. We built these lives, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. Time allowed it.

In the last several months, Facebook has reconnected me to many people in my past – people from my grammar school, high school and college. In conversations with my grammar schoolmates, we realized it had been 35 year since we had spoken. Time gone by. Priceless time. Time we don’t get back.

Time, both vague and empirical, defines our lives. It is a unit of measure that guides us through our days and our lives. And we know from the outset, time for each of us will be limited. As Neil Armstrong says, “I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine.”

It is therefore up to each of us to see the value in our time – not to waste it – but rather to treasure it, celebrate it and use it to help us develop the best life possible.

Time is a critical component of the formula for a successful life:

  • We must know ourselves – our talents, passions and interests (our true selves) – to know what makes us happy and what we are good at.
  • We must know our world, to know the canvas we have available to create our lives.
  • We use time to blend the two – our true selves and our world – to determine our unique fit – to create the best life possible.

Time allows this great life to unfold. Time is the enabler. But time is limited.

Consider the following ways to better use and treasure your time:

  1. Plan your day; this will help you prioritize your life events and get to the things that are important.
  2. Know yourself and know your world. Be constantly aware of what make you feel successful and happy. Build more of these into your day.
  3. Pay attention to your health; eat wisely and exercise to feel well each day.
  4. Build strong relationships; have loving and caring people in your life to share your time with.
  5. Create a list of the things you want to do in life – a wish list. Do as many as you can. It adds excitement, anticipation and energy to your time.

Daylight changing time is a reminder that life is not a dress rehearsal; this is all the time we have. And we should respect, care for and treasure our time. Many may complain about losing an hour of sleep, but really there are so many other things lost in this movement to daylight savings time; an hour of visiting a loved one, an hour of fitness, an hour reading and learning, an hour of travel, an hour of meditation, an hour of walking on the beach, an hour of family time, an hour of thinking time – another hour of progress in building an exceptional life.

Time doesn’t return. When used it is gone. Daylight changing time is a wakeup call. Commit to valuing time, and using it to develop your best life.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual and the on-line resource Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to work strong and live stronger. More information at

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Posted by Jay Forte on March 14th, 2010 in Diet and Fitness, Family, General, Health, Relationships, Spirituality, Things We Love | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , , ,