Black Friday shopping mall overwhelm. Cyber Monday inbox overload. When will the pressure to Give Bigger and Better end? It doesn't look like it will, according to a recent NPR story ... "It's just going to be a blend of a promotional period stretching the entire back half of the year and into the new year." Ugh.
But it doesn't need to be that way. Really. My husband and I only exchanged holiday gifts the first couple years of our relationship. Full disclosure: we share the same birthday. But the decision to stop purchasing items was based on more than the fact that we cancel out each other's special day. We both believe we can buy the items we need when the opportunity arises, and we are usually in the throes of a home renovation project that requires our attention~~and dollars~~whenever a gift-giving event rolls around. I realized today that, coincidentally, we happened to miss last year's holiday consumerism marathon because we were on our way home from a once-in-a lifetime trip to visit my stepson and daughter-in-law in Japan ... a vacation we saved up for over many, many months by setting aside money we might have spent on physical gifts.
But you have to give something at the holidays, right? Well, you don't have to do anything, but it sure is sweet to acknowledge someone you care about in a unique way. If you have the means, (1) give the gift of a meal out~~or even a beverage~~with you. So you can talk and laugh and make fun memories together ... maybe while you're reliving some old ones. Your time is one of the most valuable things you have, so a gift like that is extra-special. So think about it as giving the experience. The choice of a special Saturday outing, for example~~the gift I gave my nephew when he turned five (he chose Mystic Aquarium)~~opens up a world of possibilities.
Speaking of time, what about (2) sharing that with someone who could use help with some housework or other tasks? Once again, that can be a great opportunity to reconnect and catch up on each other's lives. Even an unexpected Skype call would show the giftee that you were thinking of him/her, and I don't know anyone who wouldn't get all warm and tingly from that. I know a guy who would get really warm and tingly with the gift of another set of hands splitting and stacking firewood, but let's move on ... ;)
If you still long to be able to hand your dear one a gift, (3) make something. It doesn't need to be expensive or elaborate. Seriously. A batch of favorite sweets, a handwritten copy of a special poem, a photograph of a memorable time ... all these things show that you really put some thought into the gift~~more than an item you grabbed in a rush at the Big Box Store.
Whatever you decide~~even if it's a purchased widget~~give from the heart. If you choose to craft something from your hands, for example, visualize the recipient as you're wrapping your gift, and allow the feelings you have for him or her to bubble up. You'll infuse your item with one-of-a-kind energy that becomes even more important that the object itself. And you just might get the best gift of all ... the reward of spreading your love and the true joy of giving~~without any thought of receiving anything in return.
In the spirit of giving~~and of gifting experiences instead of physical gifts~~this holiday season I'm offering gift certificates for three 75-minute private yoga sessions for the price of three 60-minute sessions. That's 45 minutes of yoga FREE! You can give your loved one his/her own customized classes, or you can join in for a semi-private experience. Either way, your gift will be supersized. Let's connect so you can check someone (maybe yourself!) off your gift giving list right this very minute.