It’s that time of year again; carols playing in every store, my email inbox full of cyber-ads and coupons, ah yes, the gift giving season is upon us. Now let me assure you, I am not against gift giving. I love to get gifts and I love to give gifts even more. I love Santa and Secret Santa and all other gift exchanges. However, I like to take the focus off shopping madness and put more heart back into my gifts. This post called Holiday Gifts & Happiness got me thinking about making gifts more personal and meaningful. The Happsters dealt with how to wrap gifts in a fun way; I’m going to write about how to put happier gifts inside that fun wrapping!
How about making more of our gifts? My Secret Santa person is getting her favourite kind of cookies, (triple chocolate fudge,) homemade by me in a nice Christmas tin. In the past, I have made some beautiful photo books for family members using Blurb and photo magnets at stores like Walmart. For a gift exchange where I have a $5 maximum limit, I made a necklace and bracelet out of origami paper stars and beads. All of these gifts cost more time than money and people appreciate the effort I put in.
How about giving the gift of time? I once gave my brother and his family passes to the Toronto Zoo and a parking pass so they could enjoy a day of fun together. Last year, all of my friends got laser tag passes so we could all go play together, like the big kids we are. For something less expensive, shovel a neighbor’s walk, make dinner for someone or take someone to the movies. I love gifts that either encourage people to spend time with me or spend time with their families.
How about giving the gift of health? Life by Design offers a great gift pack here. Get your special someone on the path to Living by Design.
How about teaching our kids to make reasonable lists for Santa? Kids’ Christmas Lists are getting a little scary. No Christmas list should be pages and pages of stuff. I once heard a very smart child psychologist on CBC Radio say that she allows her kids four categories on their list: “Something I want, something I need, something to wear and something to read.” They can put as many items under each heading as they like, but come Christmas morning, they will be getting one item from each category, plus something special from Santa. I love this idea. Will a child’s Christmas really be less special with four or five gifts as opposed to twenty? And for those people who are worried their child will compare with their friend’s Christmas haul and feel inadequate, now is the time to start teaching our children about the dangers of materialism and the brainwashing effects of commercials and online ads. They will thank you for it later.
Get the PDF version here.
How about starting charity early? Get kids to give food, time or money to the Food Bank and teach them why they Food Bank exists. Find a local charity and donate some time as a family. Have every family member, (kids too, allowance money can be used here,) donate to a charity of their choice. We give to Cystic Fibrosis Canada, the London Abused Women’s Centre and Pet Friends 4 Life in our house. My parents always had my brother and I choose a toy each and then donate to Toys for Tots. This is something I still do today. Dr. Jamie told me that the Café of Life will have a toy donation tree again this year, so you can give when you come to get adjusted!
This Christmas, give meaningfully, give joyfully, and remember to wrap those gifts in some joy!