By Joseph Sciulli, CAPP

One of the best gifts to give this season is a sincere smile. And an equally sincere “Thank you” and “You’re welcome.”

A sincere smile is a powerful thing. It has immense power to change someone’s day for the better. But it can be hard to really mean it sometimes, especially when we’re in a rush. And who isn’t in a rush these days?

Likewise with thank-you and you’re-welcome. Basic manners we were taught as children. Words often said but not always meant. But when seasoned with a sincere smile, true engagement can occur.

A smile is like a breeze that can uplift a spirit in an instant, the way no spoken word can. To quote St. Theresa of Calcutta, “Peace begins with a smile.”

So especially during this harried season when we can become too frustrated too quickly and easily, I submit the humble smile as our personal holiday stop sign. It can help us slow down, stop, and appreciate the people we encounter in our many daily intersections: customers, co-workers, strangers, and family.

Chances are, your smile will make another’s trip through the holidays—and your own—more enjoyable and more peaceful.

Happy holidays!

Joseph Sciulli, CAPP, is vice president and senior operations consultant at CHANCE Management Advisors, Inc.