My uncle passed away from cancer last week.
It was right before Christmas, before the start of the new year and before his eldest daughter’s 27th birthday.
Hundreds of people showed up to his funeral, many of whom his family had never met before.
It was so crowded that some people had to wait outside.
Reading his obituary, I learned my father’s younger brother spent years of his life serving the community.
He was a board member of the American Red Cross and Ability Resources, an organization aimed at providing housing assistance and counseling services to people with disabilities.
He also made it his mission to welcome every new Indian person who moved into town.
I understood then that you’re not remembered for the presents you give or the money you spend.
You are remembered for the way you make people feel.
Here are five priceless gifts that you can give this holiday season without spending a dime:
This is a gift mainly for you.
You think that by refusing to forgive someone, you’re affecting that person the way he or she affected you.
More often than not, though, someone doesn’t even know you’re holding a grudge.
All that anger and resentment you carry inside will keep building until you burst.
Once you let go, you’ll see that you’re the one who reaps the most benefit.
Forgiveness doesn’t just extend to other people.
Forgive yourself and move forward. Don’t be trapped by the past.
Time is limited.
Unfortunately, we can’t pull a “time out” like Zack Morris from “Saved by the Bell” and freeze the moment.
Put down the phone, laptop and tablet, and spend the day with the ones you love.
Make lasting memories.
Circumstances will change, and opportunities to be with the people who mean the most to you will become numbered.
Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today.
When a friend, family member or significant other needs you to listen, be present.
Truly hear what the person has to say, and keep your mouth shut.
Don’t just wait for an opportunity to talk.
When that person needs advice, be honest, but gentle.
Let him or her know he or she can talk to you about anything.
Prove you will always be there no matter how rough life gets. That’s when people need you the most.
Tell people you care about that you love them.
Call an old friend to catch up. Reach out to someone you may wronged in the past and apologize.
Thank the people who have helped you along the way because you didn’t get to this point on your own.
Love yourself. Embrace your flaws and appreciate what makes you unique.
There is no one in this world like you.
Find time this holiday season to help others.
It costs little or no money to put a smile on someone’s face, but I can promise you that warm, fuzzy feeling you get from being altruistic is invaluable.
Volunteer at a soup kitchen, visit a nursing home or help your neighbors shovel their driveway.
Being charitable apparently pays off.
According to a 2013 article in The Huffington Post, the health benefits range from a longer life span and lower blood pressure to better pain management and increased happiness.
According to Rodlescia Sneed, coauthor of 2013 study in the journal of "Psychology and Aging":
Volunteering may offer an opportunity to establish more social connections and form new bonds with people who care about you and motivate you to take care of yourself.
Make the next few weeks really count.
Enjoy the celebrations, the food and the presents, but also give yourself the gift of being a better person by giving back.