The holiday swirl is upon us. It happens so fast, doesn’t it?

Last night I was fortunate enough to have been given two tickets to see a theatrical production of “A Christmas Carol” with my son at a beautiful old theater here in San Francisco. I loved having a special outing with my son. And I delighted in the festive sets and the gay old-fashioned apparel.

I’ve read the book and seen the play many times, but last night I was struck anew by how heartwarming it is, particularly the scenes in which the Cratchit family is so happy together, despite not having much money. I got teary several times, and realized later that as cliche as it all sounds, the spirit of these holidays is truly about connecting with the people we love. It’s about having a chance to stop and celebrate what we love about one another.

Along that vein, I want to share with you one of my all-time favorite gift-giving ideas. It doesn’t cost a dime and I promise you, the recipient will treasure it forever. It is what I call the “Love List.” And to make it, all you have to do is set aside some quiet time in which you can focus your attention on someone you love and you start jotting down things you love about them.

Your list can be silly or sweet. You can list huge things like “You visited me everyday when I was in the hospital.” Or “small” things like, “You never forget the whipped cream on my hot chocolate.”

You can list as many things as you like, but it is really a fun challenge to see if you can list 100.

When you’re done writing your list, you can give it to your loved one in the form of a handwritten note … or you could design something on poster board or on the computer. You could add some photos or decorations if you wish. It can be as simple or as complex as you like. But what is really important are the sentiments you express. And that is what the person will feel. It’s a gift of attention. A gift of seeing someone. A gift of appreciating someone. It’s a gift of love.

I recently ran across a Xerox copy of the first Love List I ever made — back in 1988 for my Mom’s 50th birthday— am will share a bit of it with you. I was going to list 50 things I loved about her, but before I knew it, had reached 100. I typed up my list on one of those pre-printed colorful sheets of stationery, which most card, craft or stationery stores stock. (I suggest you use the computer instead of a typewriter!) Sorry for the odd-looking elongation … something to do with the blog column size.


P.S. Yesterday I was interviewed for a radio program with the topic, “Great Gift Giving.” The “Love List” was one of the gifts I mentioned. We’ll be posting the interview to the Simply Celebrate website early this week and I’ll let you know how you can listen to it for more great gift ideas.