By Darcy Eikenberg, ACC

When it’s time to celebrate the holidays, we typically make one of three choices when it comes to giving gifts at work:

*      We give something to some,

*      We give nothing to anybody, or

*      We feel lousy about either strategy.

You can make a different choice. You can give real gifts to everyone at work–gifts that won’t need to be returned, are always appreciated, and are always the right size. Here’s the list of real gifts you can give to everyone at work, all year long.

The Gift of Showing Up.

Sometimes just showing up in person is meaningful. Being early for a meeting
so you create time to ask about others is valuable. Inviting someone to sit down and have coffee– instead of relying on phone tag or email–can make a huge difference to a colleague, job seeker, or overwhelmed friend.

When you show up at the project session, business conference, party or even funeral, people notice and appreciate your presence–even if nothing remarkable is said or done.

The Gift of Perspective.

Earlier this year, a professional contact caught me holding back on my opinions and ideas, trying not offend anyone. That’s a losing battle. I recognized I did have something to say. You do, too.

When it’s needed, give the gift of your perspective. Tell ’em what you think, and what’s leading you to think that way. Let your recipient know they’re free to take your ideas and use them–or to just ignore them (like they did the Justin Bieber mittens you gave them last year.)

The Gift of Hands.

A lot of people offer you good ideas for your work and life. That’s great. But sometimes what people really need is the gift of your hands.
The best ideas in our workplace deserve to be set into motion. Sometimes, that just needs tangible, bodily action–fingers on a keyboard, legs on the pavement, mouths talking on a conference call, arms around a torso. The
hands (and those other active body parts!) can pick up where the head leaves off.

The Gift of a Giggle.

When work gets tough, the bellylaughs can come few and far between. But smiles and chuckles do sneak out, sometimes just as simple acknowledgements of the silliness of our offices, our society, and our world.

Stop trying to be so serious all the time at work. Smile more. Laugh for no
feason-it’s good office cardio, and it’s contagious.

The Gift of Words.  No matter how much we edit them to 140 character messages or vowel-less texts, words still matter. “Thank you” makes an impact. “Great job” saysolumes. “I appreciate you. . .trust you . . .am grateful for you. . .”

Can anyone tire of gifts like that? Writing, speaking, and really meaning our words can create a gift no one will forget.  Are there are more gifts where those come from? Sure! Why not give time, patience, energy, enthusiasm, listening, appreciation, and of course, love and joy. All are in great demand in our workplaces today. So start giving them now-and good luck finding a box to fit them!

Leadership & workplace coach and speaker Darcy Eikenberg, ACC, founded Red Cape Revolution: Bring Your Superpowers to Work, a grassroots community which helps everyday professionals rediscover their superpowers, use them at work, and make a bigger difference in the world. Join us and access free community resources at