When we give our time we give our lives. It's the foundation of these fifteen special gifts. You may not have previously thought of them as gifts, but they are. If you look upon them in this way you'll be much more likely give them and be a blessing to others.

1. The Gift of Personal Communication
How do you feel when someone contacts you out of the blue for the sole purpose of reminding you that you're a treasured friend? You feel the same way everyone else does-special, loved, appreciated. And you can brighten someone else's life any day of the week. This can be done with a phone call, a handwritten note, or an e-mail, and none take more than a few minutes.

2. The Gift of Quotations
I've never met anyone who doesn't appreciate a good quotation. That's why I put so many of them in my books-they're a gift to my readers, especially those who have expressed appreciation for them. The beauty of a good quotation is that it's brief, to the point, full of wisdom and advice, and a boost for the spirit. Find them, collect them, and share them. It's a simple way of giving someone a lift.

3. The Gift of a Good Recommendation
When you make a great discovery, one that in some way enriches your life, share it with others. It could be a book (like this one, I hope), a play, a movie, a restaurant, a recipe, an article, a product, a service, a TV program, or a music CD. When you make these kinds of recommendations, you're really saying, "This brought some joy to my life. I want it to do the same for you."

4. The Gift of a Helping Hand
All of us appreciate it when someone not only offers to help, but actually follows through. We're all faced with tasks-some big, some small; some important, some trivial; some requiring skill, some menial. Whatever it is, it always goes better with the help of another person. Whether on the job, at home, in school, or out socially, the gift of help is always appreciated.

5. The Gift of Laughter
I've never met anyone who didn't like to laugh. It's one of the happiest and most healthy activities known to the human race. Victor Borge said, "Laughter is the shortest distance between two people." It's also a life enhancer and a great gift, one that can be given easily and often. Don't let those funny jokes, stories, bloopers, signs, and one-liners fade away. Share them with others.

6. The Gift of Listening
There are many times when someone close to us wants only one thing-our full and undivided attention. Listening intently to another person, with our eyes and with our hearts, silently says, "What you have to say, and the feelings behind your words, are important. Right now this is the best gift I can give you. I value our friendship."

7. The Gift of an Invitation
I regard all invitations, whether to a major event, a wedding, a party, a sporting event, or lunch with a friend, as special gifts. Whenever we ask someone to join us, we're really saying, "I want you to be there. Your company is cherished. You have something good to offer." We all want to be included, to be asked to join in, for a simple reason-sharing experiences with other people is one of the greatest joys of life.

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  • 8. The Gift of Physical Affection
    How do you feel when someone gives you a hug, a warm handshake, a friendly pat on the back, a kiss on the cheek, an affectionate touch? If you're a normal, red-blooded, breathing, living human being, you feel great. Alan Loy McGinnis, an esteemed counselor and author, advises, "Use your body to demonstrate warmth." With the right people and in the proper setting, that's exactly what acts of fondness do. Give this gift of affection liberally.