Gift. Say that one little word and so many meanings and emotions run through our minds. At times, the word can be a loaded term, one that provokes equal parts of anxiety and joy. As we sit down to make out our holiday gift lists, we contemplate gifts and to whom we’re giving. One by one, we’ll review the names of those we love. We’ll call them to mind and draw close to them as we plan. A loving exercise. A simple exercise. A happy exercise if we keep the idea of simplicity up front and center. The spirit of the season is in the simplicity … and we can recapture it, by listening to the quiet voices within. If we stop to breathe we realize gifts are an opportunity to bring our cherished ones closer together and share our love.
It’s Not About the Money
Too often, we measure our gifts against the world, not against our hearts. As we count down to the holidays, reach for simplicity: simple gifts, gifts of time and love and friendship. Gifts you’ll never see spotlighted next to a bell-ringing Santa at your local mall, or mindless gifts you’ll see languishing at next summer’s garage sale. Warm cookies on a cold day. A favorite book, re-wrapped and handed on to a friend who will treasure it. Board games that bring the family together around the kitchen table. Think more in experiences than currency.
Give the Gift of a Feeling
Do you know an overworked mother who needs a day of pampering? How would she feel to come home and change into a fluffy robe and clean, crisp sheets? What about an afternoon of babysitting so she can do nothing or anything she wants? How about some homemade bath salts packaged in a sweet mason jar adorned with sprigs of aromatic lavender or pine? When you imagine your loved one and the feeling you’d like them to take away from your gift, you can never go wrong.
Create a Memory
Lasting memories are based on events that have two kinds of intertwined characteristics: they are surprising in some way and they have strong emotional content. I can remember as a little one, the joy of running to the tree on Christmas morning. It wasn’t about the presents but more the excitement of the unknown. Create a new memory for the children in your family by planning an elaborate scavenger or treasure hunt for the holidays. Hide clues around the house and encourage everyone in the family to participate. The more you reinforce the event the longer it will be etched in your memory. Take plenty of photos and save them for a memory book to give next year.
Make Your Own Ornaments
Before breaking out the box of last year’s dusty ornaments or rushing to the store to buy new ones, consider an evening spent drinking hot chocolate, listening to holiday music, and breaking out the glue gun to make them yourself. Cover old ornaments, craft with new dollar store ones, or repurpose your way to holiday perfection.