Give Intangible Gifts for the Holidays

photo: FutUndBeidl, Creative Commons

photo: FutUndBeidl, Creative Commons

The holidays are the perfect time of the year for advertisers to target and attract us, the consumers, to spend lots of money buying “tangible” gifts—gifts that have a physical presence and can be touched. Many of these tangible gifts consist of expensive electronics, clothing, appliances, jewelry, and even cars. These are nice gifts to give and receive. But “intangible” gifts—gifts that have no physical presence and can’t be touched—can truly change the quality of your life and can be the best gifts you can ever give and receive.

Here are a few examples of intangible gifts you can give this holiday season:

  • Support and encouragement– Words are powerful and influential. You can uplift someone’s spirit in the present moment with positive words like “you can do it, you will be ok.”  Speak hope over a person’s present situation. Give compliments and highlight strengths.
  • Forgiveness– Give YOURSELF the gift of forgiveness. Make the choice to let go of the past hurt and anger that someone has caused you. This doesn’t mean that you ever have to invite this person back into your life, but they will no longer occupy the mental and emotional space within you.
  • Quality time– I believe time is one of the most underrated gifts that one can give and receive. Spending time with others creates a sense of belonging and connection, meeting one of our basic human needs. Consider revising your schedule to build in some extra time this holiday season to make special visits to those important in your life or even volunteer some time to spend with those who may be alone during the holidays.
  • Helping others– Lend a helping hand to others whether it’s stopping to help someone struggling with carrying all those “tangible” gifts or fixing a few items for your wife around the house. Show up and help those who are unable to clean their home and prepare a couple of meals for the holidays. Offer to babysit to help couples enjoy some quality time alone.
  • Give up an unhealthy habit- Gift YOURSELF (and your spouse if you have one) by giving up an unhealthy habit like smoking or eating poorly. This decision may reflect and affirm a commitment to living longer and stronger for yourself and loved ones.


Porsha Jones, LAMFT


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