Looking for the perfect gift? Here’s a daring suggestion!

The holidays are upon us – and with them, the stress of finding that perfect gift for our families, friends, colleagues and employees. Advertising comes at us from all angles and we wonder what each person Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 10.20.10 AMon our list might cherish or find useful. I’d like to suggest a daring plan that can satisfy all those important people in your life – and save you hours at the mall. Because, what most people really want in life is to be seen – really seen for who they are, the impacts they make, and the importance they have in our lives. Unfortunately, we live in a busy world. Our minds overflow with concerns and the minutes and hours of our days fly by at an astonishing pace. This leaves little time to really notice who other people are or to appreciate them for these qualities.

So, if you’re looking for the perfect gift for that special someone, a colleague, an employee, a child, or anyone else in your life, take a moment to acknowledge them for who they are.

Did a colleague cover for you when you needed to attend to a family matter? That was kindness in action. Did an employee admit making a mistake, even when he could have swept it under the rug? That took  courage and integrity. How about a child who took it upon herself to clean her room? Impressive responsibility!

In dealing with patients, a simple acknowledgement of their effort and dedication to their good health in bringing down their blood sugar, wearing compression stockings, or exercising regularly means so much and goes a long way towards building partnership and trust.

In the middle of this holiday season, when we are bombarded by messages about all those “things” that we can buy for the special people in our lives, consider giving something that will live on long past the time when the coffeemaker breaks down, the sweater is no longer in fashion, or the movie tickets have been used. If you feel the need to present a tangible object, a note to your kind colleague might mean more than a wallet, book, or other gift. Or you might find something that represents the quality that you admire in the person. A heart-shaped paperweight for the courageous employee would serve to remind him that you appreciate that value and might help to encourage more honest courage in the future. After all, the word “courage” comes from the Latin root, cor, which means heart. An opportunity to accompany you on a trip or to attend an important event might demonstrate the value of the responsibility shown by your child with the clean room.

Acknowledgement – a simple and profound gift that comes from the heart and shows someone that you value who they are and what they mean to you.

About Helane Fronek

Over the past 28 years I have had a fascinating and fulfilling career in medicine, initially practicing as a general internist and then as a procedural specialist, caring for patients with vein disorders. As Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UC- San Diego School of Medicine, I’m thrilled to be teaching medical students crucial communication skills along with many other aspects involved in the practice of medicine.
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1 Response to Looking for the perfect gift? Here’s a daring suggestion!

  1. Sabrina Falquier, MD says:

    Thank you for this,
    This year I did a table with a post it for all in our families lives who touch us – from colleagues, to gardner, to cross guard at kids school, to teachers, garbage man… the list went on. The table was full, and my 9 year old and 7 year old, as well as my husband and me had such a concrete way of seeing our grateful village! We all sat in front of the fireplace and wrote cards to these people in our lives thanking them. It was my favorite part of the holiday so far!
    Happy holidays to you – thank you Dr. Fronek for reminding me regularly to see other aspects of our lives. I’ve been receiving your emails and you spoke our our sharp rees stealy CME in Indian wells.
    Thank you – I appreciate you,

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