Something Jim Rohn taught me is—it’s not the time you invest, it’s the investment you make in the time you spend with those you care about that makes the difference. You can leave creating a great time and wonderful memories to chance, or you can weave the tapestry of a wonderful experience through great design and planning. I surveyed some of my friends and peers about how they craft wonderful holiday experiences and meaningful connections with others. I’ve listed the best five ideas from this survey —ALL of which I plan to deploy this holiday season!
IDEA 1. Capture the Memories—Take lots of digital photos during family get-togethers. Upload the photos to a family photo-sharing site (I recommend: www.DropShots.com; it’s safe and secure, and photos are not shared publicly or indexed by search engines) and send the link to everyone in attendance. If you really want to memorialize the experience, have the photos made into a memory book and send everyone a copy as a thank-you gift. Bonus idea: During the get-together have available family pictures and albums from previous holidays. They can stimulate conversations and warm memories of holidays past and important people who might no longer be in attendance.
IDEA 2. The Sound of Music—Ask everyone in attendance what their favorite holiday song is, performed by what artist. Afterward, go online, find the songs, download them, make a copy for everyone in attendance and send it to them. Everyone’s favorite holiday music is encapsulated on one CD!
IDEA 3. Box O’ Wishes—This idea comes from Oprah… place a small box at everyone’s place setting containing an index card for each person in attendance. Ask everyone to answer one or more of these questions about each person there and put the answers into their box. Example questions are:
- What I love about you is…
- Thank you for…
- My holiday wish for you is…
Everyone will leave with perhaps the most meaningful gift they have ever received—a box of love and good wishes from everyone at the party. This also sets the tone and frame of mind for the entire time together!
IDEA 4. Box O’ Questions—Everyone thinks up and writes down 2 to 3 questions on topics they would like to know about each other or, as host, you can create a list of questions. The questions need to be general enough so they can be answered by anyone. Put all the questions in a box and pass it around to each person to select and answer. Example questions are:
- What is your favorite childhood memory?
- What is the most important life lesson you learned from your parents?
- Who was your childhood best friend and what made them so special?
- What was school like for you as a child? What were your best and worst subjects?
- Who were your childhood heroes and why?
- What accomplishments are you the most proud of?
- What is your most important goal for the next 3 to 5 years?
IDEA 5. Time Versus Trinkets – For your close family and friends, instead of marching through the malls to find the “perfect gift,” the most meaningful gift you can give is your time. Along with a card filled with thoughtful sentiments, enclose a half-dozen experiences you are giving for them for the coming year. Examples are:
- A picnic at a special place.
- A trip to the beach or the snowy mountains.
- A baseball game, a local fair, a movie, lunch outing, etc.
- An entire day when you will do anything they want you to do or accompany them anywhere—without complaint!
Wishing you and your family a warm, wonderful and especially meaningful holiday! Darren Hardy