Happy friends

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With the holiday season now in full swing, it's easy for us to get caught up in the stress of a long to-do list, preparing for parties and rushing around to buy gifts. And, with money tight for many of us this year, there's added stress as we think about what to buy for family members, friends, co-workers and others.

Instead of giving stuff for the holidays, what if we gave the people in our life the best gift of all: our appreciation ? Let the people around you know what you appreciate about them and why.

What do you value most about your best friend? What is it about your kids that you really appreciate? What do you love best about your spouse? How does your co-worker or your boss make your job easier and more fun?

Expressing our heartfelt and genuine appreciation for the important people in our life is magical and essential to our ability to create happiness, fulfillment, loving relationships, healthy families and productive communities. Appreciation is also an important element of effectively dealing with challenges and uncertainty that so many of us now face.

This year our holiday gifts can be expressions of true appreciation, which will have real impact on our relationships and make this holiday season more memorable. And with many of us in difficult financial situations, taking time to appreciate others and life is even more important this year.

Try the following three simple suggestions to make your holiday gifts and your holiday season special and meaningful.

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