The Heart in Giving – Leadership is a Choice #34

Jessica Soroky continues her series Leadership is a Choice.

Gift boxes

The tree is up, the lights are strung, and the smell of the fresh evergreen fills the room. I run past my mom, who continues decorating the house, to my dad’s workbench to retrieve a pair of safety glasses. A Christmas movie plays in the background as I wiggle myself under the tree, lay on my back, and get lost staring up into the lights.

There was magic in those lights. There was hope, cheer, and (literally) a brighter world. I didn’t care as much about the presents that would soon fill my spot, I cared about the days that made up the holiday.

It all started the day the tree went up and the decorations came out. The house turned from the warm yellows, oranges, and reds of fall to a green and red filled Christmas wonderland. My mom worked so hard to make it all perfect while I played and made the nutcrackers talk to each other.

The days to come were filled with family, mom’s cooking, movies, and joy. Christmas morning was filled with surprises, laughter, and so much love. I can’t possibly remember all the presents I received. What I do remember is how extraordinarily happy I was. That level of happiness was addicting, so much so I began counting down next Christmas as soon as the clock struck midnight and the day turned to December 26th.

I used to tie my happiness to vain things like presents. It wasn’t until many years later I would understand the real joy and magic of the holidays.

I can’t begin to describe the feeling I get when I see a smile sweep across my parents faces for no other reason than the knowledge and demonstration of my and my brother’s love for them.

I am not a parent so I don’t know the other side, I don’t know what it feels like watching your child rip open the paper and scream and squeal in delight at the surprise that awaits and knowing you caused that amount of happiness in another person.

What I do know and can share with every parent out there is that we (the kids) get so much joy out of watching YOU scream and squeal in joy. I have reached a point where more of my excitement comes from waiting to see my mom’s eyes twinkle or my dad’s stern resting face turn into the biggest, softest smile I’ve ever seen.

These are the two people who literally gave me life. They worked every day for as long as I can remember to give my brother and me what we needed and wanted. They pushed me, cared for me, supported me, and loved me. They still do and for that I believe they too should be spoiled with as much gratitude and love as I can offer.

The love of this day isn’t in the gifts themselves. It isn’t in the wrapping paper or bows, it is in the thought which leads to the actions that all show love.

My love for this day is in knowing that in all the clutter that takes up our time someone you love thought of you enough to carve out the time to go find something they believed you would love.

As an adult with my own company, my own clients, a full calendar, and a whole list of adult responsibilities, I am proud to say that Christmas is still my absolutely favorite time of year. I get to put it all aside, turn off the emails and the phone and just be a kid again.

I can’t thank my parents enough for still going out of their way to make this time of year just as magical as it was when I was small enough to slide under the tree. They have given me a wonderful and beautiful example of what Christmas is about. To this day there is nothing I look forward to more than staying at their house the night before, waking up (not nearly as early anymore), and running to start the festivities.

What’s my point? Gratitude, contribution, and above all else – love.

With all the stress that comes with the holidays, take a second and call the person who helps create the magic of the holidays for you and say thank you. Don’t get sucked into the commercial aspects of the day, remember, in the end it is all about love.

Share your gratitude – it’s the best gift you can give (and it’s cheap!).

Get over yourself for an afternoon and make the time to find whatever truly shows that you care, were thinking of them, and want to contribute to their joy.

Even more so- get over yourself and be a kid again. Just because you have a job, a family, a house, and never ending responsibilities be the master of your reality for this day and let it all go – see and experience Christmas as a child again. Laugh and squeal, eat all the cookies you want and contribute not only to the happiness of those around you, but contribute to and create your own happiness!

“It isn’t the size of the gift that matters, but the size of the heart that gives it.” ~Eileen Freeman



Jessica Soroky, CSM

IMG_3285Jessica is a Certified Scrum Master with over three years of practice in agile delivery and seven years of team leadership. She is also the youngest participant in The Leadership Gift™ Program and its growing worldwide community of leaders and coaches. After five years of nonprofit development through Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, Jessica continues her leadership journey in state government, not-for-profit, and private sector leadership studies.



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Posted in Responsibility on 12/21/2015 01:49 am
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