What One Christmas Gift Can You Give Everyone on Your List?

What Christmas Gift Fits All?

Can you think of what that might be?  Some will automatically think chocolate, another will think love and yet another will think pen.

Any of these answers, of course, may fit but what if that someone doesn’t like chocolate like one of my friends or the expression of your love to your boss might seem inappropriate or someone prefers fine nib to the medium you gave them?

Yet, there is something that everyone appreciates.  It comes in two parts.

One Christmas with a group of friends, we agreed not to buy each other gifts but to give each other something much more important – something that has lasted years.  I still have mine from that first year.  It meant a lot and has sustained me through some very difficult times when I doubted my abilities and even myself.

And this year, I would add another component.  Often, it is something left unspoken amongst friends and family and others we interact with frequently or not often enough.

You can include these in a Christmas card or along with a physical gift or simply give it to them on a simple piece of paper.

1.  List three things that you admire about that person.  It could be how kind they are to animals or the way they help family, friends and neighbors in need or how their smile lights up everyone’s life every time they interact.  Simple.  One or two sentences.

2.  Express your gratitude.  Just one thing.  Perhaps tell your husband how much you appreciate how he is a sounding board for issues at work throughout the year,  or relate to your mother and father how their advice saved you a lot of time and energy or how much you appreciate your friend’s ability to make you laugh. 

This gift can be given to EVERYONE on your list – everyone your great mechanic who takes the special step of vacuuming your car, your boss who treats everyone fairly, your cleaning person who does such a great job week after week, your brother who helped you with renovations, your sister who guided you through a career choices – the list is endless – nieces, nephews, grandparents, friends, acquaintances, clients – there isn’t a person alive who doesn’t like to receive appreciation for their gifts and talents.  And, everyone loves to receive an expression of gratitude for something they gave without expectation of anything in return.

You may be very surprised at the reactions.  Some will cry.  Others will be shy.  And yet others will be pensive.  It’s not often we share our good feelings about others’ talents and gifts.  Everyone loves to be noticed.  Everyone loves to receive a positive expression about the marvelous parts of them.  Sometimes we appreciate what people do for us but we don’t verbalize it in writing. 

Christmas is a time of giving. 

Open your heart and fill others’ hearts with joy – real joy of connection – human to human.  Make it about them.

Lorraine Arams


Would Another 24 Hours Make A Difference?


 Another 24 Hours?

More time – “I need more time” comes out of people’s mouths every single day.  Would adding another 24 hours a day to your life make a significant difference to your life?  Did you ever think about that question?

In what other areas of your life did you have a wish for more?  “If I had more . . . .”  – money, more “stuff”, more leisure, more clothes, more jewelry, more education, more friends, more love  . . . “I would be . . . . ” happier, better off, feeling good, earning more, be smarter, etc.

How many of you have ever thought that way?  Likely, everyone.

For most of us, we do get “more” only to find that we haven’t found what we thought we would realize from having “more”.  Why do you think that is?

The Trap of “More”

When we want more, it’s because there is something inside us that is unsatisfied.  Instead of “fixing” that dissatisfaction internally, we look externally for something to fill the void.  Externals don’t.  Externals don’t fix a thing and, in fact, will likely only increase the dissatisfaction inside.

The Key

We have all we need. 

The key is understanding that we don’t need “more” of anything.  Instead, we should be maximizing what we have – our talents, our relationships with family and friends, our experiences and our connection to our world.  That’s what will pay the dividends.  Being all we can be.

If you don’t believe it, drive or walk in wealthy neighborhood alleys on garbage days.  You’ll see the carnage of “having more” – a physical representation.  The wealthy have a lot of money, buy many items, and what we find in the alleys on garbage day is waste – expensive bikes which have never been used, clothes with price tags still on them, collectibles, usable electronics . . . . has “more” solved anything?  Buying, buying, buying for the sake of buying the latest and greatest and yet what is purchased is obviously not appreciated and not used.  Ever wonder what they are looking for? 

This waste is symbolic of what we all do in some way in our lives. 

We are all rich, we just don’t know it.  We squander what we have and wish for something else.

Adding another 24 hours in anyone’s day wouldn’t make a difference at all to our lives because we would live it precisely the way we are living our current 24 hours. 

The Gift We All Have

Time management is not about how many hours we have, it’s how we use those hours to maximize the possibilities of our lives.  We come into this world complete. 

We each are very special with our very own particular “blueprint” by which we can define for ourselves.  We have the freedom of will to utilize our special attributes our way.

Won’t you give yourself some time today to think about what an incredible being you are.  Won’t you take the time this week to seriously look at your talents and abilities and put them to use for the life you want?  You’re amazing – believe it – live it – be it – whatever “it” is for you in particular!  Uniqueness – we all have it – for a reason.  What will you do with yours?

Lorraine Arams

Are You Planning for the Holiday Season – It’s Here!

September 30th – the Holiday Season has arrived.

  • October presents Thanksgiving
  • October also offers Hallowe’en
  • November is Remembrance Day
  • December presents us with Christmas and all the socializing and activities accompanies that time of the year – for some, a vacation is included and, of course, let’s remember Christmas Eve and Boxing Day – each a splendid celebration!
  • January opens a new year for us but New Year’s Eve hits a high note not long after Christmas

Are you ready?

Most people might be miffed by that question and yet now, the end of  September is the time to look ahead and plan now because once Thanksgiving hits, it’s one event after another all the while keeping up with everything you do now.  If you have relatives in the US, then you need to account for one more holiday, the November Thanksgiving.

Also, for most people, October and November are incredibly busy times in their workplace.  There is an intensity about those months. 

Now is the Time

Good time management means looking ahead to what seems a long way away.  You’ll be happy you took the time now to discuss and plan events. 

For instance, will you be giving a party for Hallowe’en?  Who will be on the guest list?  Decorations?   Food?  Drinks?  Games?  Costumes? If not now, when – it’s 31 days away – not long.  You know how time flies!

At the same time, plan the other events – what will you be doing for Thanksgiving?  That’s just 2 weeks away – will you be going out for dinner, having people over, and what does that entail?

Remembrance Day – will you attend services?  If so, will you take people with you?  Who?  Where will you meet?  What will you do afterwards?  Or will you go away?

Christmas activities – mid-November onwards – gifts? parties? shopping? baking? Christmas Eve?  Christmas Day? Boxing Day?  What will you need for the activities you plan? 

The Best Planning

Discuss and decide what you will do on each of those events.  Decide what you’ll need to do and have  for each of them – make lists — brainstorm with others. 

Then work backwards from the date of the event, adding tasks to your schedule leading to the event.  The scheduling at this time will assure  that you have all you need on the day.  September 30th week-end is the perfect week-end to plan and schedule before the winter sports begin, classes, meetings, fundraisers and increased workloads. 

You’ll be glad you did.  You’ll reduce your stress around the holidays, you’ll enjoy them more and everyone else will too!

Lorraine Arams


When Should You Speak Up?

When should you speak up?





People would say:

  • never – “I’ll lose my job”, “I’ll make enemies”, “I won’t be respected for a difference of opinion”, “It’s not my problem. I don’t want to get involved”, “I don’t like it but I need to live with it”, “I’m the peacemaker”, “I don’t want to cause trouble”, “People won’t like me”
  • sometimes – “If it’ll get me what I want”, “When it’s serious enough”, “When I’m asked for my opinion”
  • depends – “Depends on whether or not I have the time”, “Depends on how it will affect me”, “Depends on what other people think first”

And so people show up to work every day, put their heads down and say nothing unless spoken to.  In their personal lives, they repeat the same habit – speaking up very little to “keep the peace”.

The Inevitable

One day, as it will inevitably happen, there will be an explosion.

Everyone, at one time or another,  shows up at work and in their personal lives tired, irritable, and generally not well.  It’s all too much.  They blow.  They say something to someone and it’s not good.  All that pent up energy simply discharges.

Like a volcano, they have “blown their top”.  Pressure has built up so much, sometimes over many years, that the wrong thing is said to the wrong person with the wrong reaction!

What’s the Alternative?


Speaking up is not a one time event.  It’s a skill developed over time and the learning never stops.

When a person practices daily to speak up in work and social situations, that person increases their ability to communicate effectively.

When a person explodes, no one hears them.  Like a volcano, the eruption is so intense that people are taken aback by the intensity and the focus of others becomes to calm the person down instead of listening to what is being said.

Where Do You Start?

Start by deciding every day will be practice day.  When a difference of opinion arises, speak up even in benign situations such as where to have lunch.  Notice the words and tone of voice used and after the exchange, think about how the message could have been conveyed better or pat yourself on the back for a successful exchange.

Practice.  Practice.  Practice.

With practice, an eruption is unlikely to happen unless planned for a purpose.  Sometimes eruptions can be effective but great care is required in the execution.

If a person is always practicing expressing themselves, others will get used to it and a strong opinion won’t be such a shock.  Self-control will be easier and the message is likely to be heard even if the outcome is disagreement.

Expect Disagreement.

We are all so different.  What seems to be perfectly logical and make sense to one person, doesn’t to another.  Everyone expressing themselves in a respectful way often results in surprising outcomes where collaboration or co-operation may occur or a “truce” of sorts.  If not, at least everyone knows where everyone else stands on an issue which, in itself,  is a form of peace.  Dialogue can continue.

Lorraine Arams




Is Time Management Static?

Is Time Management Static? 

It would seem so when people talk about time management.  “I adopted this, it works well” 

However, time management needs to be fluid.  No person is a robot.  Everyone’s life changes constantly even when we think it remains the same. There’s nothing, absolutely nothing, static of about anyone’s life.  What works well at one point in life may not be so effective under different circumstances.

Ebbs and Tidesthe colors of life

The ebbs and tides of life require adjustments and that’s why so many people get into trouble with managing their time. 

24 hours – that’s all we have – 24 hours – no more, no less, no matter what circumstances have appeared in your life.  The big mistake people make is simply not adjusting for life’s ever changing tides, not even the expected ones.

For instance, a couple expecting a baby reel with excitement.  They are told by friends and family that their lives will change.   Armed with this valuable knowledge, do most couples think ahead?  Most of often not.  Baby comes and exhaustion sets in.

What if these soon-to-be new parents sat down ahead of baby’s arrival and mapped out their time commitments – what will change, what will each person  give up and how will everyone’s needs be accommodated?  Remember, baby is an “add in” – something has to be taken out to make space.  Baby doesn’t much care.  Baby needs what baby needs when it needs it and, if anyone around them is stressed and anxious, so will baby.  Baby will pick up on the “vibes” of the parents and react accordingly.  Everyone’s stress rises even more!


I sincerely believe that if people did more of this kind of give and take planning with their schedules before major events  in their lives, people would reduce their stress levels.  

Every time something new enters our lives, we must give up something else –  two separate objects cannot occupy the same space.  For instance, if you have a couch in your living room, your chairs cannot occupy the same space as your couch.  Chairs will take up a certain amount of square footage and so will your couch.

As fluid as our lives are, time management must work in tandem with this ever changing landscape.

Lorraine Arams