Christmas is right around the corner and many people are starting to think about what gifts to buy for family and friends. The truth is that as you get older you start to realise that you don't really need more 'stuff'! In fact, more 'things' don't bring more happiness. 

Some of the best gifts in life are FREE. Here are a few of those you might consider giving this Christmas:

1. Gratitude.

Why not give the gift of appreciation? Just say 'thank you' to someone in your world. The story is told in the Gospels about Jesus healing 10 lepers but only one taking the time to come back to Jesus and express his gratitude. I am sure the other 9 were thankful, they just didn't take the time to express it. We too, take so much for granted. Where would you be today without …? Who has helped you along the way this year? Let them know. Give the gift of gratitude.

2. Encouragement.

Encouragement is like "oxygen for the soul” – we all need a heap of it just to breathe. No child wants to feel like the only way to get mum or dad's attention is to do something wrong. No employee wants to only hear from their boss when they've made a mistake. No politician only wants to hear from their constituents when they have a criticism to make. No pastor only wants to hear from their congregation when they have a complaint. We all thrive on encouragement! Why not give the gift of encouragement to someone this year at Christmas. Mark Twain once said, "I can live for two months on a good compliment."

3. Forgiveness.

We all say or do things we regret. That's why we need forgiveness. Other people hurt us too – through offences, annoyances and mistakes. Our natural desire is to get even or to take revenge. However, that anger not only damages other people, it also damages us too. Nelson Mandela once said, "Holding on to bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill our enemies!" Who can you forgive this Christmas? Don't lose your joy over something someone else has done to you. 

So … who can you thank, who can you encourage and who can you forgive … this Christmas?

These gifts are FREE but they may turn out to be the best gift you give the people around you this Christmas.

See also Jesus, the Perfect Christmas Gift.