I thought it might be fun for you all to try intentionally using your character strengths during the holiday season (and beyond, of course).  I have used these activities over the years and always found them to be enjoyable, elevating, and inspiring.


 A Gift For Family and/or Friends Dinner talk —  – Take time at a meal to talk about “what went well today (or this week)”. Take turns sharing one thing at a time. When each person shares something that went well, challenge yourself to associate their highlight with a character strength (or more). If you feel comfortable doing this verbally, let them know what strengths you see coming into play in their good occasions. This helps you (and others) build awareness of the character strengths that are active in our daily lives. It also helps others hear someone else acknowledge their strengths in unexpected ways. This can build confidence, bravery, gratitude, and positive emotions, in general.)


NOTE — If you are single and often alone, you can do this with your own “what went well today” — make a note on paper of what went well, look at your signature strengths and see if any of them came into play in your good occasions. Perhaps you actively used a strength? {Perhaps others used a strength and you were the beneficiary. By acknowledging the goodness, you are practicing gratitude, too, which is shown to increase positive emotions.)


 A Gift for You  – Strengths Date — you can do this with a partner (friend, spouse, child, etc.) or for yourself.  Commit to taking at least a few hours for this gift to yourself. Look at your top five signature strengths — pick at least two to focus on. Plan a dream date for yourself/partner where you do something that allows you to use these strengths in a way that you will enjoy. If this sounds tough to do, keep it simple so you will be sure to do this for yourself. Small steps lead to new places!  (This is a great gift to give someone, if you are looking for an “experience” gift.



If one of your top strengths is spirituality — Perhaps you would like to take yourself to a place you feel is sacred. Spend time meditating/praying/singing, whatever fills your heart with inspiration and peace. (Or, perhaps you can use the time to begin creating your own spiritual space in your house?)


If one of your top strengths is Capacity to Love and Be Loved — Perhaps you have a favorite movie that speaks to your heart and inspires you to connect with loved ones. Perhaps you can make a game out of finding ways to genuinely compliment those you come in contact with during your outings? Perhaps you can spend the afternoon with a close friend and offer to help them with a project they need help with?  Perhaps you need to spend some time taking care of yourself! Take the time to pamper yourself in a special way that nurtures you. So often we feel selfish, but if we take care of ourselves, we are better able to be there for others, too.


If one of your top strengths is hope and optimism – Perhaps you can take a walk/drive and look for signs of hope in your neighborhood. (Do you see signs for upcoming events? What hope do these signs/events represent?  Do you see people exercising? What hope does this represent? Do you see animals? What are they doing? What might they be hoping for 🙂  Are there ways you can help others fuel their hope?


If one of your strengths is honesty – Perhaps you have a favorite person, place or group you’ve always wanted to acknowledge for what they do well or that has improved your life. Plan some time to visit them or write them a letter to share your positive feedback. Maybe you are into movies or books — what characters exemplify honesty? What is the result of their honesty? Perhaps there are others where honesty is lacking? Explore the intricacies of honesty and integrity.  If you enjoy people watching — take time to sit at a coffee shop or other favorite place and look for examples of authenticity. What strikes you about others who appear to be genuinely comfortable in their skin?


Think about what sounds really (genuinely) fun to do (either by yourself or with someone else) — add a dose of your top strengths and see what happens! The most important step is to commit to the time for this positive action for yourself!

Need more ideas — contact me!



CHEERS! to these happy cousins  🙂  Reunited after many years of growing up…

using their strengths of humor and playfulness, capacity to love and be loved…and ZEST!