A few years back, a little book started something very big. A message that has already prompted people to give to others, connect with friends and family, and help those in need like never before. Every one of us has powerful gifts to share, now we all have the added inspiration, resources and opportunities of a full-fledged movement. Each day, the momentum grows and the impact widens, as The Ultimate Gift continues to inspire millions of others to “share the gift…and change the world.”
THE GIFT OF WORK: The Family Values Journal & Key
It takes a lot of work to keep things running well – whether it’s family life, a business or a volunteer organization. In every group of people, there are usually people who stand out for doing more than their share of the work. They are working hard and know the power of a job well done — and they deserve to get a little recognition for it. Use this Certificate of Hard Work to show them how you recognize and appreciate the efforts they are putting forth. Add a special thank you or even a treat to give along with the certificate to further sweeten the surprise. It’s the type of thank you that works every time!
THE GIFT OF PROBLEMS: Words of Wisdom
In The Ultimate Gift, Red Stevens recalls, “One of the great errors in my life was sheltering many people from life’s problems. If we are not allowed to deal with small problems, we will be destroyed by slightly larger ones.” We each have problems of all sizes in our lives, but it’s the spirit in which we greet them that truly determines their magnitude. Use this day to look for a way in which you can help someone discover this important insight – and also share with them the other inspiring gifts you have received from The Ultimate Gift.
We have so much to learn from those around us, especially those who have lived enough to understand how to handle difficult situations. Wisdom has the ability to turn obstacles into opportunities from which we learn and grow. Ask an older member of your family to share their “story”
THE GIFT OF FRIENDS: I’m Always with You
Friends are people we can count on through thick and thin. They are the ones who support us when we make good choices and tell us the truth when we don’t.
Friends bring us joy and remind us that life is meant to be shared. They feel a lot like family but there’s one big difference – while we can’t choose the family we are born into, we can definitely choose the friends that surround us.
But remember that you have to be a friend to have a friend, and friendships must be nurtured to keep growing to their fullest. In the spirit of The Ultimate Gift, Once Upon A Family® has created a special Friendship Card so you can remind your friends of how valuable they are to you. Download, print and fill out this card then give it to friends as an unexpected surprise.
THE GIFT OF GIVING: Gift of Values
In The Ultimate Gift, Red Stevens explains, “Conventional wisdom would say that the less you give, the more you have. The converse is true. The more you give, the more you have. Abundance creates the ability to give; giving creates abundance. This principle is true in every area of your life.”
There are very few acts of goodness in our lives that compare to the act of giving. That’s because true giving is completely selfless. It comes with no strings attached. Giving is about focusing on the needs of another while leaving your own goals and desires behind. Giving reminds us of how rich our lives are and how easily we can make a real impact on those around us.
THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE: Thanksgiving Album & Leaves
It’s so easy to get caught up in all of the frustrations and disappointments that are part of normal daily life. Sometimes we need a little reminder to help us stay focused on all of the wonderful things we have. Ask each family member to write 10 things they are grateful for on their own personal Golden List. You can help the little ones by writing it for them or having them draw symbolic pictures. Hang these Golden Lists in places where you’re sure to see them everyday, such as the bathroom wall, the bedroom doorknob or the kitchen bulletin board. This simple tradition will make being grateful a daily habit for everyone in your family.
THE GIFT OF FAMILY: Family Tree Poster & Leaves
Then, every Friday night, one member of your family pulls out a card and announces which activity the family will enjoy together over the weekend. It’s a simple, spontaneous way to connect and grow closer – plus have fun while you do so!
THE GIFT OF LEARNING: Family Tree Booklets
“In Your Shoes” is a fun activity developed by Once Upon A Family to help your family better appreciate and understand the unique lives of each one of you. Put everyone’s name in a hat and have each family member draw a name. Each person then uses a piece of paper and a marker or crayon to trace the foot of the family member selected, and then writes out three or more things that make that person different from them. These traits could include, for example, the person’s position in the family, what’s important to them, what they worry about, or what makes them happy. Talk over these differences together and create a dialogue about how important it is to respect and appreciate each other’s own special traits. Every member of the family will have a better idea of what it takes to live “In Their Shoes”. And, together, your family will have enjoyed yet another rewarding step on the lifelong journey made possible by The Gift Of Learning.
THE GIFT OF MONEY: The Birthday Book
Money is a confusing thing. Everyone says it’s not important and it can’t buy happiness, yet many act like money is very important and work as if they will be happy only if they had more. We do need a certain amount of money to satisfy our basic needs. But, as we learn in The Ultimate Gift, too much money can make people just as unhappy as not having enough. Today, as you celebrate how your efforts have helped to support a charitable cause, make it a point to explore the Gift Of Money with your family using the three conversation starter cards provided by Once Upon A Family®. They’ll help you work together to share and shape your ideas on what’s truly valuable to each of you. Then, enrich the conversation by also discussing other acts of giving you plan to do as a family in the months ahead.
THE GIFT OF LAUGHTER
Happy people generally have a positive, joyful outlook on life. They tend to look for and think about the positive aspects of people, things, situations, and events. They can laugh at themselves and brush off little setbacks that others will brood over for days. Even in our saddest moments, laughter can be the best medicine to heal our heart and mend our minds. Start a healthy family habit that will help everyone develop a more positive outlook on life. Make the dinner hour, when you are all together, a time to share with each other the best part of your day. Take turns and really listen. This simple ritual expresses a lot about who we are and what makes us happy. Use the Joy Chart to stimulate some healthy competition. Anyone who can think of three or more good things that happened to them that day earns a happy face on the chart. Whoever has the most happy faces by their name wins the best prize of all: a life full of joy and all the good things that come to someone who looks for them!
THE GIFT OF A DAY: Family Fun Box & Family Fun Pad
Although spending time together as a family is one of the most important things we do in our lives, so many other things seem to get in the way. In this modern, fast-paced life, we all need to step back and make the effort to be together. Start a tradition that reminds you of The Gift of a Day all year long, thanks to this family-connection concept from Once Upon A Family®. Place 52 stones in a jar to represent the 52 precious weeks you have to enjoy with your loved ones during the year. Remove one stone each week at a time when the family has gathered together, and share your best moments from that week. Just seeing the jar of stones sitting on your table will make you think twice about how you spend your days and how to make the most of the little time we do have together. And, to add to the sense of connection, make a day out of choosing the stones that will represent your year of togetherness. It’s an unforgettable family experience.
THE GIFT OF DREAMS: Time Capsule
Dreams are an important part of who we are as individuals. The ability to dream and believe in a dream is the foundation for success in every aspect of life. People who accomplish great things all begin with a dream, while those who don’t chase their dream are often disappointed. When we allow the Gift of Dreams into our lives and summon the courage to follow our dreams, we begin to experience life at its fullest. The key to making dreams come true is making them real. This means putting your dreams down on paper, sharing them with others and actually planning the steps you can take to move closer to making your dreams come true. Use this Share A Dream Card to tell a friend – whether that’s a spouse, a sibling or a co-worker – about your dream so they can help support your quest…and enjoy being a part of your accomplishment.
THE GIFT OF LOVE: Dear Sweet Child Letter Box (The Ultimate Gift)
One of the most precious gifts you can give someone you love is your time, especially in today’s busy world. When was the last time you invited your spouse out to dinner or took your mother to lunch? Can you imagine how special it would be if you invited your daughter on a ‘date’ where you help teach her how a man should treat a lady? Or how about planning a fishing trip with your grandson – just the two of you? Couples need to make time for their relationship to keep their love alive and strong. And children crave the one-on-one time that makes them feel cherished. None of us, no matter what our age, ever outgrows the need to feel loved and appreciated. Your time is a Gift Of Love and it’s easy to give. Use this invitation from Once Upon A Family® to plan a date with someone special in your life and let them know just how much they mean to you.