What’s the first gift you remember opening? Was it the toy you’d been dreaming about, the socks you didn’t think needed to be wrapped, or the bike you could hardly wait to master?

While I don’t remember the first gift I opened, I do remember the way I opened it.

My brother, Jim, and I managed to open all of our presents at the same time, as we pried the garage door up just enough to see what mom and dad were hiding from us.

The excitement was too much for our seven/eight-year-old selves—we had to know!

I’ve always loved gifts. They’re pretty, fun to wrap, and exciting to open.

Joy courses through my body as I explore a store (online mostly), think about my loved ones, and imagine them enjoying the gift. I prefer practical gifts, which is why I spent an hour filling little bags of candy from the bins yesterday.

My friend, Rita, is a sweetaholic. Well into her 60’s, she’s one of the happiest people I’ve ever met. And—she loves sugar. Watching her face light up as she saw three different variations of malt balls was awesome. Fortunate for her health, she also loves exercise!

I love the holidays for many reasons, but mostly because I love gifts.

Sometimes the gifts we receive throughout the year aren’t wrapped in the most beautiful paper. They’re not sweet and delicious. In fact, they don’t even smell good. Yet, in many ways, they are the greatest gifts of all.

This holiday season, I welcome you to stop and acknowledge the gifts you’ve been given. Take note of your successes, and stop to celebrate yourself. Write down your difficulties, and pause to not only honor your spirit, but also find the gift.

As many of you know, in February of this year, the love of my life—my 4-days-shy-of-his-20th-birthday nephew—was killed in a car accident. One moment I was making fun of his goofiness, and the next moment he was gone.

I never loved anyone the way I’ll always love him, and I’ve never felt so completely loved as I did in his presence. He could see through my motivational mumbo-jumbo to the truth of who I am and what matters to me. He is a gift—one I will cherish for a lifetime because I dared to love so deeply.

2015 has been filled with many, many gifts—some wrapped in pretty bows, and others wrapped in emotional roller coasters.

I welcome you to take a moment right now to grab a pen and paper and write down your successes & failures—your tragedies & triumphs. See and acknowledge the gifts inherent in each. Most importantly, stop to acknowledge your spirit—the gift of you—this holiday season.

Happy Holidays!

Here’s to Your Greatness,

Misti Burmeister

P.S. The gift of hosting the Provoking Your Greatness podcast has provided me the luxury to gift you with some of the most inspiring and instructional interviews with the most down-to-earth and powerful people on the planet. Take a listen to my top two favorites of 2015: Shelia Callahan & Richard Sheridan – Enjoy!