Oh yes, they are coming fast and we all know that. Christmas decorations are up, the Christmas music is playing, and Thanksgiving hasn’t yet arrived! So goes the retail push.
If we take a step back from this, we’ll realize there are so many ways we can give mindfully during this season that can keep us away from all the frantic stress that is created, Internet shopping included, and therefore make time for what’s truly important to us.
What are your favorite memories of holidays gone by? What are you not so fond of?
Some of my favorite memories include spending time with family and friends over some coffee or tea with homemade cookies, baking, making Christmas wreaths and centerpieces from natural materials that we’ve collected which has been a tradition since I was a kid, and the sweater my grandmother always knitted for us that we received on Christmas Eve.
There are two things I have never been fond of. The first is the shopping whirlwind that brings me inside stores with goods strewn everywhere, long lines, and parking that’s not easy to find. This brings out the beastly side of me. I have also never cared for the mounds of Christmas wrap that is left to pick up after all the presents are opened only to be abandoned weeks or months later, not to mention the time spent putting it all together!
Gift giving for my family has become more mindful and focused on what is important to us which is spending time with people in our lives and doing some fun things together. We adjusted our giving rituals when I was a stay at home mom which had so many benefits they became our tradition. I was able to make some beautiful quilted Christmas trees skirts and table runners that are still used by those who received them.
Not so long ago I received homemade frozen cookie dough from a neighbor who was out of work. I put it in my freezer and took it out to bake later on during the winter season. This was a nice treat because I didn’t have to put it together.
Maybe you have a talent to create some beautiful gifts!
Supporting local businesses and organizations are important in the gift giving process for us as well. This feels good because there’s a connection behind the gift to the recipient and the locals are benefiting. I love buying homemade relishes, jams, and honey at the farm stands and farmers markets before they close to include in gourmet food baskets. Those who receive these baskets can enjoy the taste of summer during the winter without dyes and toxic preservatives.
Stay out of debt:
When we buy for our two kids they receive one thing that they really want and then we fill their stocking with both fun and practical gifts. This keeps us in check so we’re not overdoing it and heading into debt for one day out of the year.
We have also always established savings accounts for them that grandparents and family members contribute to. We have been able to use these accounts to pay for college tuition thereby avoiding big loans. This is one gift that keeps on giving!
For other members of the family, we always consider where they are in their lives, what is local to them, what their interests are, and go from there. Yes, we do establish reasonable spending limits. If there’s a savings account for nieces and nephews, we contribute to that.
If you have a large family, consider picking names out of a hat and buy for that individual. You will be able to put your money toward something more significant and meaningful and avoid a lot of running around.
Mindful Gift Giving Ideas for Christmas Present & Future :
• Grab some fresh condiments, jellies, and honey at the farms stands before they close to include in baskets.
• Is there something you would like to make for someone?
• Class passes for Yoga, Pilates, and Spin studios for the fitness buff in your house.
• Memberships to local botanical gardens or museums – this keeps on giving year round to the recipient and helps with sustainability of the organization.
• Anyone want to learn photography or how to speak a language? How about a class at a nearby Adult Learning Center?
• Offer to have extended family over after the holidays for a brunch or game night with snacks.
• For elderly members of the family, make a donation to their charity of choice on their behalf.
• Contribute to a savings account for a young family member.
• For that teacher on the list, buy something for the classroom.
Many of these ideas will save you time and energy from being out in stores and the wrapping frenzy that follows. You will be able to create quality time to connect with family and friends which is the essence of the holidays and so much in need.
Share some memories and gift giving ideas have you created?
Remember that Saturday November 29 is Small Business Saturday!
A great opportunity to support local artists, farmers, business owners, and non-profits