Are you sick and tired of the Holiday Gift Giving Crazies?
Four ways to stop the craziness!
Me too! That horrible shopping frenzy which is all about trying to find that special something that is going to please your loved one. Or maybe it is that office gift exchange that has so much more tied to it than just a gift.
Like you, I have shopped until the idea of sticking out my credit card one more time was too much to bear (in fact, my attitude becomes quite bear-like). Why was I doing this? How did it happen that this buy, buy, buy season become what Christmas or Chanukah, or any other holiday is about? Is it really what we want? If you are like me – the answer is a resounding NO!
What can you do instead?
Here are just 4 ways to stop the craziness as well as a way to stay away from the traffic, congestion and mall frenzy.
Spend time – not money. Consider this, what child or friend or family member would not appreciate the gift of TIME? Time to sit, talk, focus, do something fun. That’s it – you are starting to think about it. As a coach I love the process of shared ideas. Usually, this goes – you come up with an idea, then I will. But since this is a one-way conversation, I will do the suggesting, but please, come up with some of your own. Give a hand made gift certificate: for a game night, coffee/tea/hot chocolate time movie and popcorn night (movie of their choice) and make it fun with blankets, pillows, etc, make cookies together and invite friends over, make beaded bracelets color a large picture together, jigsaw puzzles paint by number, pedicure/manicure night, homemade dinner, the list goes on and on and on.
Handmade gifts – OK, maybe you aren’t the creative type, but there are so many great ideas for people of all levels of artistic skills. You can visit Michaels, Craft Warehouse or Joann’s Fabrics or whatever art store is in your area. The people who work there specialize in helping you to find a craft you can do. This might be something like gluing together old plates and creating a bird feeder or maybe taking old vases and stuffing solar lights in them to create outdoor lighting. Or maybe you want to try your hand at knitting your first scarf. Making your own gifts is not only less expensive than the big mall items, but it is something that you are putting love and thought into – not just your credit card. I remember as a child I used to make my own cards, decorations and art objects and give them to my parents. And you know what, I believe they loved them – I know I loved making them. I have created braided bread baskets, knit items – and no they weren’t beautiful – but the love I put in them was.
If you must purchase a gift, how about just focusing on one special one rather than a bunch of little ones? Most of those little gifts are generally made so inexpensively, that they fall apart quickly. Discuss with your friends and family about the “one gift limit” and maybe even set a price bracket of how much to spend. This eliminates a whole lot of worry and concern. What it also does is really have you focus on that one thing that will bring a smile to the gift receiver’s face. I fondly remember one summer when two girlfriends and myself got together. We went shopping in the Hawthorne District in Portland – a really fun, funky area. We decided to buy each other a small token to remind us of this day together. Our limit was less than $5 each. This really set us looking for that very special item. To this day I still have the two items I received from Debbie and Leah. I treasure them. So maybe it isn’t about the big $$$$$, but that small, thoughtful $.
Celebration! I think celebration is the most important part of the holiday season. It is a time to get together with friends and family and celebrate the love we have for each other. Instead of focusing on buying gifts, how about focusing in on a special way to celebrate the season. For me, I focus on the New Year and plan a yearly ceremony with my friends around what we want for the year. I have this celebration/ceremony the first Saturday of every year. It is a time for us to gather together, eat, create, talk, and so much more. How can you find a way to make this season about celebration rather than just about the gifts?
Now, how can you take care of yourself during all this craziness? Here are 4 ways – none of this will be new – more of a reminder.
- Spend time, not money (see number 1 above)
- Take care of yourself and your health first. Yes, this is a time of giving, but if you don’t practice self-care first, you will be stressed, short tempered, perhaps become ill, and a martyr. Choose not to be that person and instead practice self-care by resting enough, eating healthy foods, exercising, and relaxing when needed. If necessary, be a bear and sleep in.
- I know it is “partee time” but do yourself a favor and avoid drinking too much alcohol (you don’t have to toast everything), too much sugar (remember sugar is a poison to your body), and foods that you know do not make you feel good. IOW, if you generally avoid wheat – don’t eat the Christmas cookie just because grandma made it. Know your limits and “love on yourself.”
- Keep moving. Yes, the weather outside is frightful – cold, windy, rainy – downright miserable, but don’t let that stop you from moving. If it is just too awful outside, put on some music and dance, hula-hoop, run up and down the stairs – just don’t sit there – move. Why? Movement keeps you mentally, emotionally and physically healthy. It helps you to deal with stress. And it just makes you feel good.
Do you have some ideas you would like to share? Great! Please go to my blog and share away.
I wish you all a very wonderful conclusion of 2015 and a healthy, vibrant, love filled 2016!
Judith Auslander (and Riley)