Leadership: Homemade gifts create a lasting impression

Kathie Rotz PHOTO CREDIT: Christian Del Rosario Contributed

Kathie Rotz PHOTO CREDIT: Christian Del Rosario Contributed

Homemade gifts are the best. However, I did not always appreciate this present.

My mom has a talent for crocheting, and I didn’t respect her talent until I was older and understood the value of money and the love that shows in the effort of a homemade gift.

My friend, Marilyn, taught me this lesson and saved our Christmas in 1994. My friend, Jessie, and I were college students, newly married, had young babies and had tight budgets. As I created my Christmas shopping list that year, I debated who I could remove from my list to reduce our holiday expenses. Do I need to give a gift to my friends and college professors?

Marilyn became my angel when she invited us to her home to make Christmas gifts. I had no idea what it meant or how to make anything worthy of giving as a present. She mentored and helped us create quality, thoughtful gifts, including blankets, flower arrangements and home decorations. I remember being so excited that Christmas to give to everyone, even people I thought I’d need to remove from my first draft list. I wasn’t embarrassed by these budget-friendly packages.

This lesson reminded me of another creative gift creator, whom I failed to embrace her talents when I was younger.

My mom is the queen of giving homemade, tasty treats. Holiday fudge always was a coveted gift to give to my teachers. Because of the large quantity one batch created, we had enough to give to everyone who we interacted with at school. I remember being excited to give to the teachers and the school lunch ladies, the librarian, the janitor and the principal. Once I mastered this recipe, my question changed to, “Who else can I give a gift to?”

John G. Miller, author of “QBQ! The Question Behind the Question,” encourages his readers to ask accountable questions by following this easy formula.

Begin every question with “what” or “how,” add the word “I,” and complete the question with an action word. I find his formula helpful when I feel stuck or complaining.

In 1994, I was complaining about our lack of money. Without realizing it, Marilyn and my mom encouraged me to ask an accountable question, “How can I give?” This question challenged me to find a way to surprise family, friends, acquaintances and even strangers with a gift, rather than removing important people from my gift-giving list.

Thank you, Marilyn and Mom, for helping me think differently. This tradition started when our budget was extremely tight. It is all we could give. Because of its popularity, it continues for my mom, me and my adult kids. During the holidays, we make more than 20 batches of fudge to share the holiday spirit and give to everyone — co-workers, postal workers, garbage collectors, car mechanics and neighbors.

What’s your talent? What gift can you create that doesn’t stretch your budget? Be an accountable giver and figure out how to give to everyone this holiday season.

If you need a yummy fudge recipe that makes enough for everyone you know, download your recipe at unityconsultingllc.mykajabi.com/fudge-recipe.

Kathie Rotz is an executive leadership coach and speaker with Unity Consulting and the author of “You Have Superpowers” online learning program.

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