Times are tight – face it, we’re watching every penny. It’s not all bad, we are demanding better service, better quality and are learning about the feeling of gratitude (I’m so grateful I can pay my bills…).

There are gifts you can offer that don’t cost you a cent, and they are gifts as much for yourself as for someone else. I thought I’d just take the opportunity to remind you of what they are.

1. The Gift of Listening: Really listening, not thinking about what you are going to say next, not jumping right in with your opinion. Being still, being fully present and listening. You might learn something!

2. The Gift of Affection: Give a hug, a kiss, hold someone’s hand, and accept the affection coming back to you. Small actions demonstrate the love that you say you feel for something – don’t tell me you love me, show me!

3. The Gift of Laughter: Share funny stories, find the happiness in a situation and bring joy wherever you go. Even if it is difficult at first, remember that a smile is catching. You can even sense a smile down the phone! It benefits you as well as the people around you and you will find a new lightness in yourself as the laughter releases heavy emotions.

4. The Gift of a Kind Word: Telling someone they look really well, that the food was tasty, or that they did great in something, can make a big difference to someone’s day.

5. The Gift of a Favour: What you give out will come back to you ten fold, maybe not from where you expect it. So “Pay it Forward” and if you can, do something nice for someone and expect no direct reward. Just feeling the energy of kindness and love passing from you out into the universe is a reward in itself.

6. The Gift of Gratitude: Just spending time listing down all the things you are grateful for, and allowing the energy to come into your body can be a healing, cleansing experience. You can share this with someone else by listing the things about that person that you are grateful for – why not splash out and make a handmade card, and write it inside of it!

7. The Gift of Creativity: We all have a capacity to create, when we are surrounded by negativity this is one of the first things to become repressed. Promise yourself to clear out the negative thought patterns and allow yourself to create some new, positive ones that will lift your spirits up and the spirits of those around you.

I hope you find something here that motivates or inspires you to do something different today, to share a gift with a close friend, or to gift yourself something you have been missing. Remember, we are here, now, that is why it is called the present. Ok, maybe I’m not such a good comedian, but hey, if I was, you wouldn’t be reading this!