‘Tis the season to spend, spend, spend.
Before Thanksgiving had even arrived this year, “special offers” and “today-only” deals were landing in my inbox. How about yours?
On Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and every day this time of year, merchants and the media bombard us with pressure to buy items we really can’t afford for people who may not need them.
Caught in the frenetic shopping spree that this most materialistic of seasons inspires—for rich foods that so often aren’t healthy, a tree and decorations, presents galore, perhaps even travel expenses—we risk a material and spiritual hangover by New Year’s, which may be the real reason we need those resolutions.
A better way
Why not do things differently this year, and feed your soul rather than break the bank? Instead of investing in stuff to collect dust, invest in people, love, and experiences, instead. Here are some gift ideas to do just that:
- Reconstruct or create from scratch a photo album—not the digital kind, but a tangible one that the recipient can hold in their hands. Turning the pages and seeing memories of loved ones and good times will bring more joy than any impersonal item you could buy.
- Write a letter to loved ones reminiscing about previous holidays together, or telling them what you appreciate about them. These days, a hand-written note is pretty special and, there to be opened and read again and again, truly is a gift that keeps on giving.
- Make a meal for someone from scratch, a treat in this day and age of delivered restaurant food and pre-packaged box meals.
- Give coupons to be exchanged for favors or tasks such as yard work, foot massage, and child care.
Giving gifts from the heart not only shows our love and appreciation more than most anything we could buy, it benefits us as givers, as well. For one thing, we protect our finances, and our future, by sticking to our budget and refusing to go into debt. We also protect our health by minimizing the stress that traffic, crowds, noise, and other trappings of holiday shopping can bring.
For added stress relief, do make sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in addition to all the rich foods offered at holiday gatherings, get exercise and fresh air, and practice mindfulness/meditation.
Keep your thoughts positive, too, and filled with gratitude for all the wonder that every day holds, especially during this festive, fun, family-filled holiday season.