By George Aveling, CEO Tack TMI Malaysia


I spent a few joyful hours, first, thinking about what I would buy Poh Lan for Christmas, and then in making the purchases.

We give each other gifts that are simple and meaningful. I bought her scented candles, some natural hand cream and two books.

The gifts didn’t cost a lot of cash. Money is not the currency that we use to value gifts. Rather, it is the thought, the amount of “me” that we put into the thinking of what to give, so that it is of value to “you”.

Christmas morning arrived, and the first thing that we did was to open our simple gifts. It was not a gift giving. It was an exchange of meaning.

Some time later, after lighting one of the candles, we had breakfast. We asked, “what is it about Christmas that people cherish and look forward to?” Was it the gifts?

We agreed that it was not the gifts. Rather, it was in the giving. There is joy in giving.

We turned our conversation to the spirit of Christmas. What is it that creates this spirit? Is it the Christmas trees? The songs that we sing during the Christmas season? We agreed that these are just the window dressings to a meaningful Christmas.

After talking it through, we came away with a deeper understanding. We agreed that the true spirit of Christmas is created from inside. We had created the spirit by giving, not of gifts, but of ourselves. We had spent time finding something that would bring joy to the other person. And, we found joy in seeing the joy in each other’s eyes when we opened simple gifts.

We then had a thought.

If we find joy in giving, why not make this a part of our lives? Not gifts of things, but gifts of ourselves?

You can be a generous person – by giving the gift of your time, the gift of your attention. We decided to call relatives who live overseas just to catch up. The only “cost” was in our time. But the value to everyone on the call was priceless. And the memories from that call will last for quite a while to come.

We all have the capacity to be generous – with our families, with our friends, with the people who work under us, and with the people who work with us.

We can, if we choose to.

This generosity at times can be priceless. It can lead to a deepening of relationships and strengthening of bonds.

This generosity might come wrapped in the form of really stopping and listening when people are talking to you, paying real attention to what they are saying. (aka put your handphone down when people are talking to you!) It might be to comfort and show empathy to someone who needs a shoulder, even for a short period of time. It might be to advise a friend, or coach a team member. It might even be to give kind but necessary feedback. You can be generous in many ways. You just have to set aside some of an important currency – your time.

You are the gift that keeps on giving. Wishing you a 2021, made even more positive and meaningful by your spirit of giving.

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