So now we enter the proclaimed season of giving that stirs anxiety in the hearts of many. Feeling overwhelmed with holiday angst is accepted as the norm—but I guarantee it doesn't have to be that way, even if you have 10 children and 55 other relatives who are all expecting something special from you. Remember, you're in control. You can choose to go deeper and fuller, and give only from the place that is most meaningful and fulfilling to you.
We've all heard that it's more blessed to give than to receive. Well, I know for sure that it's also a lot more fun. Nothing makes me happier than a gift well given and joyfully received. Over the years, I've given some fantastic ones. I can honestly say that every gift I've ever given has brought at least as much happiness to me as it has to the person I've given it to. That's one of the reasons I've never been stressed over the holidays, even when I had no money. I give as I feel. Throughout the year, that may mean mailing a thoughtful, handwritten note to someone who didn't expect it. Or sending a great new lotion I just discovered, or delivering a book of poetry with a pretty bow. It doesn't matter what the thing is; what matters is how much of yourself goes into the giving, so that when the gift is gone, the spirit of you lingers.
This season on my show, I wanted to make giving a theme. What I most hope to give people is a chance to do better and be better. The first show we did, handing out all those keys to new Pontiac® G6s™, was the most fun I'd ever had on TV. But before the great giveaway, I sat meditating in my darkened closet, trying to stay in the moment and not get anxious about all the surprises I knew were to come. It was important to me to have people in the audience who really needed new cars, so that all the excitement would have meaning. I wanted the force of the gift to be about not just the cars but the essence of what it means to share what you have. I prayed for that, sitting in the dark with my shoes and handbags. Then I walked downstairs to the studio, and pandemonium hit. Delight at a thousand decibels! My prayers were answered: everybody felt blessed. I felt blessed being able to experience that moment with so many people—276 in the audience and everyone watching who shared in their joy.
As my friend Maya Angelou says, "When you learn, teach. When you get, give." Give so that all your gifts are extensions of you.