A Time to Give: The Perfect Gift

A Time to Give: The Perfect Gift

The word perfect means “entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings”. The perfect gift would then mean that you provide someone a gift that is ideally suited, without any flaws, defects or shortcomings. I imagine the recipient of the perfect gift would be bowled over with excitement, enthusiasm and gratitude for the effort put into the purchasing of such a gift. This act of kindness of purchasing the perfect gift, albeit heart-felt, can be stressful and sometimes breed disappointment. But why and how could there be disappointment and grief attached to such a beautiful gesture?

The answer is one word; Expectations. The holiday season brings with it many expectations; purchasing the perfect gift, decorating just so, cooking up a grand meal, making sure everyone is happy during a family gathering, baking hundreds of cookies, attending social events, staying on track with healthy eating and exercise, prepping the guest room for incoming visitors, and making sure your elf on the shelf has a happy guest house for the month of December! Whew!!

Have you ever considered how you serve your own expectations, as well as the expectations of others through the holidays? You may realize that there’s some room for peace and fulfillment once you take inventory and change things up a bit. I want you to complete this exercise to take inventory of your holiday to-do’s and see how you can make change to increase your overall happiness and joy this holiday season. Healthy Holidays Exercise:

  1. Create Four Columns on a sheet of paper.
  2. In column 1, list out all the things you’re expected to do this holiday season (it doesn’t matter if it’s your own expectation or that of another person).
  3. In column 2, write out the reason for carrying out each item (is it family tradition, will someone make you feel guilty if you don’t do it, is it a necessary chore, are you trying to please another person, or is it another reason).
  4. In column 3, rate the level of stress associated with this task (0 = no stress and 10 = incredibly stressful).
  5. In column 4, identify one thing you can do to alleviate stress for the specific task (tone down the level of the task, plan to accomplish it earlier in the season so you’re not under a tight timeframe, delegate the task to another person, or maybe even delete it from the list all together).

This exercise can be about simple physical tasks that need to be accomplished, as well as deeper personal expectations. For example:

Especially when it comes to pleasing others by meeting their expectations, one can experience a great deal of grief and anxiety. I’ve learned through the years that it’s healthy to let people experience their own emotions, create their own happiness, and learn from their personal journey rather than try to control how things take place. My wish is for you to allow this to take place in your life too.

A client once shared that the holidays can be very difficult because they’ve experienced loss this time of year. Her husband seems to disconnect and feels sad during the holiday season and she doesn’t know what to do. This is the truth for many families and the holiday season can be a difficult time of year for various reasons. It is our expectation that everyone will be happy and full of cheer but it is not always the case.

The greatest gift you could provide someone is to offer them unconditional love; provide hugs, give space when needed, be patient and kind, communicate, tell them you love them and want them to be happy and that you’ll respectfully give them the space they need. You may even find a beautiful way to celebrate the memory of your loved one through the holiday season.

Happiness is something that resides in each of us and in our own special way we find it and exude it in this life. As a result others experience it too. While we cannot control the emotions/actions of others, we can be in control of our own choices. Find gratitude in all things and happiness will find you.

I wish you joy and peace this holiday season; release expectations while caring for yourself and your family in the healthiest, most loving manner possible.

It’s a pleasure to serve you!  Feel free to email me with comments or questions: connect@AngelaGaffney.com



 Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables


1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
1⁄4 cup EVOO
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise 1⁄4 inch thick slices
1 summer squash, sliced lengthwise 1⁄4 inch thick slices 1 eggplant, sliced lengthwise 1⁄4 inch thick slices
4 roma tomatoes, halved
1⁄2 red onion sliced into 1⁄4 inch thick slices
2 medium size whole portabella


Preheat the oven to 325°F. Clean portobello mushrooms, remove stem and spoon out the gills. In a large bowl, mix the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Place all vegetables into the large bowl and stir with hands to coat the vegetables with oil/vinegar dressing. Brush a baking sheet pan with olive oil, and lay vegetables out flat in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, and then turn the squash and eggplant over. Roast for an additional 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use and enjoy!

Recipe compliments Angela Gaffney: “The Daily Essentials Cookbook Collection-Lunch”

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