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Receiving The Gifts of Others

Everyone was just sitting down to eat when I arrived—late–to the annual holiday dinner party my fabulous girlfriends were hosting. Holiday music played in the background and the table was impeccably set by one of my friends who has an eye for all things decorative: fun name cards, fine tableware, elegant holiday center pieces, water goblets filled and garnished with pomegranate seeds and sprigs of mint, wrapped gifts of music compiled and burned to CDs and tins of Godiva chocolate at each place setting—the touches and detail were amazing. The food was equally amazing: a to-die-for baked ham, creamy cornbread casserole, roasted vegetables, decadent desserts and yummy appetizers everywhere.   When I took my seat at the table among the women who prepared and presented this incredible meal with such warmth and thoughtfulness, I got emotional.  It was the first time during the entire holiday season I felt genuinely glad it was the holidays. Up until then I had been in what seemed like perpetual motion, running around, giving my time, attention and energy away to people and things outside of myself without stopping to take the time to replenish my energy stores. Sitting with my friends made me realize how important it is to receive graciously. With Christmas just days away, I already know this group of women have given me my most favorite gift this year by sharing their amazing talents with me.  Not only do my friends possess some fierce cooking and entertaining skills, but they also have this beautiful capacity to hold space for a friend and to let her know she is supported and loved.

It’s so easy to make the holidays about other people and things, but I realized the night of the holiday dinner that it’s far more satisfying to make this time of year about inter-connectedness with other people.  Giving is great, but until we also fully receive the gifts of others, no one can fully give. So please do your part this holiday season and know that by receiving the gifts of others, you are truly completing the act of giving and you yourself will have even more energy, cheer and love to give to others and they’ll have the opportunity to fully receive all your wonderful gifts in return.

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