By Susan Leigh
I recently received a most gorgeous gift, a gold tissue-paper lined basket, containing jars of home-made jelly, chutney and a beautifully decorated home-made cake. I was blown away that someone had cared enough to think of me and go to such a lot of effort.
And it set me off reflecting on the many different ways we can let someone know that we’re thinking about them, that we value our friendship and we care.
In these days of social media and selfies it’s often the case that special moments become a blur and all merge into each other. Every outing and time spent together seems to be memorialised by someone somewhere. But certain dates and times are more special than others.
-Why not show how much you care by making a scrapbook or album of those people, dates and events that have especial relevance for them. A much-loved pet, the birth of a child, a landmark victory, the loss of someone special; all those could be collated in an attractive book. It would be treasured and revisited with affection, making them laugh or cry, no doubt providing hours of nostalgia, reflection and reminiscing.
– Making a personalised gift that utilises your special skills is another way to show how much you care. If you’re an artist you might paint their favourite view, their pet, something you know they’ll treasure. You’ll be spending your time doing something meaningful for them whilst making a generous gesture, sharing your talent and giving of yourself. Other ideas could be perhaps providing support with admin, accounts, de-cluttering, decorating a cake or cooking your signature dish.
– Helping out with chores when someone’s stressed and pushed for time can show how much you care. It’s thoughtful of you to collect their children from school, help in the garden, with the ironing or by making a meal, and it can be a lifeline to assist them in this way when they’re really pushed for time. Or maybe offer to babysit one evening so they can have a little time for themselves; then they can go out or do something really indulgent for a change.
– Showing how much you care can be as simple as picking up a flyer for a free talk, show or exhibition that you know would be of interest to them. It’s another thoughtful gesture that says, ‘I saw this and thought of you’.
– Setting aside time to pick up the phone and call them simply to chat, dedicating as much time as it takes, can be an insightful way to show you care, especially if the other person has a lot going on and is struggling to get out of the house. You could both make a drink, get comfortable and settle down to talk things through. Being listened to and feeling supported can make all the difference at stressful times.
– Asking, ‘what can I do to help’, and showing that you’re genuine and serious about your offer can be important when someone is going through a particularly hard time. Knowing that you’re on their team can make all the difference. Things don’t seem as bleak when we’re not alone, with someone to share it with.
– If you’re partnered showing you care is not about the expensive gifts, but more about the day-to-day touches that demonstrate love and commitment. Drawing your partner a bath after they’ve had a stressful, busy day, cooking a meal, having a drink ready as they walk through the door, tidying up – all these can be much appreciated ways to show you care, and all cost nothing financially.
How wonderful that after receiving such a lovely, treasured gift it prompted me to reflect on the different ways we can show others how much we care. I daresay that you’ll be able to add several of your own to the list. Please do!