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The holidays are upon us and we are busy decorating our homes festively, planning dinners, gift list and being with family and friends to celebrate together.

As you think about putting your year-end holiday gift list together, remember that the gift of appreciation is one that costs the least, and yet is often worth the most. And, unlike your financial budget, which may be fixed, your "budget of gratitude" is unlimited and abundant, so why not spread the wealth...not just during the holidays, but throughout the year!

Here are some suggestions:

●   Write someone a glowing recommendation. While clicking an Endorsement for someone on LinkedIn is a thoughtful act, a thousand times more meaningful is writing someone a personal recommendation. It takes an investment of time for sure, but why not take an hour to write recommendations for three people whose performance you would like to personally and publicly acknowledge. Think about someone who went "ABCD" ("Above and Beyond the Call of Duty") to make a difference...and let them - and the world - know that you noticed. It would take so little to make somebody's day. ●  Tweet, Re-tweet, Like, Forward, and Share Look for opportunities to spread the word and share the work of others. Whether on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram,  or via good old-fashioned email,  take the time and make the effort to be a knowledge-sharer. Not only will you be developing your brand as a "thought-leader," but you will be benefitting others. It always feels so very nice when you get a note from someone that simply says, "Saw this and thought of you."  Boom - no strings attached just positive vibes! ●  Catch people doing something right. There are so many people around us who we can easily take for granted (employees, colleagues, clients, vendors, the mailman, the guy at the bagel shop -who knows exactly how much cream cheese you really want) . Why not take the opportunity to thank them just for doing what they do...and for doing it well. There's something to be said for people who just go about their business every day with a positive and enthusiastic and helpful attitude.  As that so often gets overlooked and taken for granted, why not be the one to step up and acknowledge it? ●  Networking is a Lifestyle!  Be a connector. If you have a couple of great people in your circle who you like and respect, perhaps they might enjoy and benefit from meeting one another! So send an email to both of them with each other's contact info and say, "I think the two of you will hit it off."   I have found that being an authentic connector is a great way to show people that you appreciate and value them, and that you care enough to recommend them to others. ●  Pay it forward. If someone does something nice and thoughtful for you, in addition to thanking them, let it trigger in you a reminder to do something nice for someone else. Very often, what goes around comes around. But even if it doesn't, so what! It's still the right thing and the nice thing to do...and that's an end in itself!  So this holiday, be thoughtful and give generously and live wisely.   If you do so with no expectation of return, you'll never be disappointed...and, who knows, you may end up being unexpectedly rewarded for your generosity somewhere down the road. 

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