The day after Christmas is the biggest gift return day of the year. Over 71% of Americans don’t like the gift they have received over the holiday and a good portion of those people will head to the store on December 26th to exchange that gift for something they really want.

Shockingly, in spite of these well documented statistics, many of us are still stressing over what to buy.  According to a Rakuten survey, the average person will spend nearly 14 hours shopping for gifts this season.  That’s close to 2 full work days dedicated to choosing the perfect gift which has a 71% chance of being unwanted.

I propose that we change our strategy this holiday season.  Rather than exerting effort toward buying the perfect gift that will probably be returned, give them a gift card and an unspoken gift that is the most valuable of all: a commitment to exchange your judgment for JOY.

What?!?  “How do I do that?” you might be asking.

Anytime you hear your inner voice saying “What were they thinking?” or “How could they possibly think that is a good idea?” or “I would never do that!” or “What an idiot!” Stop. Take a deep breath.

Recognize that the person that you are judging is a rational, reasonable human being that has their own values, opinions and beliefs that have led them to make their own choices.  Consider that they are doing the best that they can.  Rather than judge them for behavior that doesn’t make sense to you at the moment, make an effort to seek out the joy in that person.  Look for what makes that person great. Honor their greatness. Praise the good they put in the world and see their light shine.

While judgment seems like a lot of fun in the moment, joy is much more rewarding and feels much better on the soul. The more joy we feel and share with others, the greater our lives become.

For this Holiday Season, let’s focus on returning the judgment that we place on others and ourselves daily and exchange it for JOY.

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