Once again, we’re in the delightful yet overwhelming season of giving. The pressure of finding that perfect gift is enormous and can easily drain the joy out of the holiday moments that pass by so quickly. The results are stress, exhaustion, and frankly a drain on our planet and wallets that leaves us feeling empty and disappointed. Also, there’s guilt in not truly appreciating the well-meaning gifts of stuff that now line our shelves or require our time to brave the stores to return. And more often than not, it’s stuff we never needed or desired.
Supporting local artisans and craftspeople whose lives are improved by purchasing their products is an important aspect of holiday giving. And gift lists and wish lists ensure that if you must buy a product, it’s something your friend or family member really wants to add to their life. Random impulse purchases based on spending a certain amount of cash or the irresistible last minute deal will always fall short of creating holiday magic.
This year let’s indulge in memorable experiences, instead of stuff that gets shoved to the back of the closet, then secretly given as a birthday gift to a sure-to-find-out friend, or donated to charity. And these experiences typically lighten the load of producing, distributing, and transporting stuff we likely don’t want or need. So skip the mall and give these stress-reducing, easy to implement ideas a try. They’ve worked for me and generally support local businesses, keeping dollars in your community. Time spent with friends and family is the best gift you can ever give!
- take a friend to lunch, take your mom to a movie, take your sis to a play
- give gift certificates or tickets to a movie, restaurant, massage, manicure or pedicure, facial, golf lesson, cooking class, yoga, museum, garden center…
- spend an afternoon with friends making soup or cookies and sharing the goodies
- call friends on your card list instead of sending a card in the mail
- donate to a charity that’s close to your friend’s heart, in your friend’s name.
Yesterday, my mom, sister, niece, and great niece spent an afternoon at my house. We shared lunch and then hung the final personal ornaments on my Christmas tree. Of course, while listening to traditional Christmas carols. With four generations together, it’s a day I hope they’ll all remember as fondly as I will. Frankly, these priceless memories won’t be found in a store!
I’d love to hear your holiday traditions and creative gifts. I wish you holiday joy every day.