The United States Post Office expects to make 15 billion deliveries between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. The people responsible for sending all the cards and gifts have at least one thing in common...they're all hoping to create a little happiness for the person who receives the package. Their efforts are usually successful because getting a note or present that has to be opened by hand is a sure strategy for putting a smile on someone's face.
Another simple way to deliver holiday happiness is to do an activity that will help each member of your family experience more happiness this year. The idea has nothing to do with making sure you have a picture-perfect house, preparing a magnificent meal or giving great gifts to everyone. This suggestion is so simple you may discount the positive impact it can have on helping the people you love experience more happiness this holiday. However, if you put the idea into action, you'll make this a December to remember.
Delivering Holiday Happiness Activity
Take a few minutes this weekend to prepare a list of open-ended, positive questions that will get your family to think, in detail, about their happy memories from the past. Then when you interact with someone individually or in a group, ask one of the questions you created and help them relive that experience.
Too often the holidays get so hectic that we never spend time thinking about the meaningful conversations we could have with our immediate or extended family. Asking someone, "How are you?" usually gets a response like, "Fine...how are you?" and then the topic turns to the weather, sports or some negative news story. When this happens, we lose an important opportunity to deliver more happiness to that person.
Once you ask your first question, really listen to their answer and then ask a FEW follow-up questions on the same topic. Remember to focus on their area of interest...not yours. Too many of our conversations are like stones skipping across the water. They just barely touch the surface of what someone has to say. For this exercise to be effective, you want to get in-depth information about a memorable moment in their life. You're looking for a short story...not the content of a text or a tweet. The more details they share, the more happy memories they'll recall. You also want to learn something new about someone you know.
If you choose to do this exercise, remember there is no right or wrong way to do it. Your goal is to just deliver more happiness by engaging your family in meaningful conversations about a topic that will help them recall good memories.
Here are some examples to help you think about the questions you want to ask:
What was your favorite family vacation?
What is your happiest childhood memory?
Who was your first best friend?
What is the most inspirational movie you've seen or book you've read?
What goal are you most proud of achieving?
Who, outside the family, has had the most positive influence in your life?
I hope you and your family have a very Happy Holiday!