I love finding that perfect gift for my loved ones as much as anyone, but I have forgone the Black Friday crowds long ago and tend to be more of a Cyber Monday-through December 15th kind of shopper. As I was waiting to pick up one of those precious gifts at the post office today, I couldn’t help but smile and joke with my fellow citizens about the wait. I observed several people dropping their piles of holiday cards into the mail slots, making me realize that I hadn’t even started yet. But I also noticed the patience of the postal worker helping a young Chinese woman understand that her package had made it to China, but that it couldn’t be tracked once it was outside of the U.S. No, he had no idea when it would be delivered, but it arrived in China on the 16th of November. She seemed relieved a bit, but still unsatisfied, yet thanked him and went on her way. It was a give and take of patience on both sides.

Everyone knows how to give during the holidays, but how many of us really know how to take, or what to take? I’m challenging myself, and you to ‘take more’ in December and next year—hear me out:

What to take

Take the high road instead of giving others back what they give. We all know this law of karma: What goes around comes around, but we don’t have to be the one to give it. Instead, take the high road, do the right thing, at the right time, in the right way. You’ll sleep better at night.

Take a deep breath instead of giving a piece of your mind the next time you feel yourself losing control. Biologically, when you feel that adrenaline rush, the oxygen to the brain is diminished (just when you need all your wits about you). The deep breath allows you to send more oxygen to your brain and think more clearly so that you’ll respond instead of react. Responding is much preferred to the knee jerk reaction.

Take the opportunity to properly assess a situation instead of giving your own meaning to the story. Too many times our assessment is based on a past experience and we jump to conclusions which are very likely untrue. Find the facts first.

Take the time to develop meaningful relationships both at home and at work instead of giving that responsibility to others. We’re all people with needs, dreams, and loved ones. Get to know the people you spend so much time with at work. Take the time to nurture the relationships that you already have in your social circle. Good friends can be hard to come by. If you haven’t heard from someone in awhile, be the first to initiate the invitation for lunch or a phone call.

Take into account that others may be dealing with some kind of pain or sorrow in their life, instead of giving grief to those whom you perceive are wronging you. This includes the guy who has just cut you off on the highway! John C. Maxwell, a pastor and businessman said, “Hurting people hurt people.” If we could look at others with softer eyes, and see their hurt, perhaps we can be more forgiving of the small actions that irritate us.

Take a hike instead of giving more time to sit down meetings. If you work in an environment where you can at least walk the halls, have that one on one meeting, or even small group meeting while walking!

Take a leaf out of someone’s book instead of giving more of the same. We all need a little variety and growth in our lives. Take a look around and find someone that you admire. Determine what you admire about them and emulate it in your own life.

Take it in stride instead of giving emotional responses and complaints. A friend of mine recently called this a “super power”. After years of therapy and hard work on himself, there is very little that irritates him. He has a positive outlook on everything, and even likens it to a Power Ranger move where he zaps the issue with his super power and exclaims—“No, that doesn’t bother me, haha! “

Take it up a notch instead of giving the same old standby. What would it take to raise your standards? Choose just one thing a month where you will raise your standard and over deliver. Make sure it is a standard that you have set for yourself and not for someone else.

Take someone under your wing instead of giving limited direction and feedback. One of the best ways we can give back is to help others and mentor them. Whether it’s a high school student or a colleague at work, share your gifts with others. It’s the best kind of ‘taking’ you can do.