Monday, October 3, 2011

Holiday Stress and The Art of Giving

I know it's only October, but the holidays will be here in the blink of an eye and I am reminding myself now that I will NOT be buying ANY Christmas gifts this year for anyone! I don't even want to teach my daughter that Christmas means getting tons of presents more so than being with family! Maybe a couple gifts for her but this obsession with materialism in our society has GOT TO GO! Call me boring, but I'm not going to live with the stress that people all to often get under during the holidays.

However, giving is not to be scoffed at. I think that we should be in a constant mental state that allows us to be geared up to give at the drop of a hat. It doesn’t always have to be a material item like toys for your nephew or a new watch for your mom. You can give gifts that are far more meaningful and last a lifetime in the hearts and minds of another that come straight from your own heart. It can be the readiness to give your ear to listen, your shoulder for a tear, or your mind for a helpful idea. It can be the eagerness to give a kiss to your spouse, some playtime with your child, or even a phone-call to chat with a lonely friend. You can give encouraging words to a downtrodden co-worker or a struggling teenager. Give a hand to the old widow in the grocery store or talk to the old man who seems in need of a good conversation. Tell the gal that gave you free advice on a business phone call that she’s a smart cookie and has been very helpful. Bake some cupcakes or a dish and take it to a family member or friend to warm their heart in their time of need. Visit your family more often and make them a priority. Let your best friend know that you value everything they have to say and that you enjoy and appreciate their companionship. Pull your spouse in close and tell them that no matter how hard things get or how bleak things seem that you are committed to see the marriage steadfast and enduring. Give a blanket to a cold, homeless person even if they are a drug addict. Be soft and patient with the lady behind the counter at the deli even if she’s rude. She might have lost someone close to her recently. Find some things in your house that are nice and you aren’t using; give them to someone. Help your family and friends when they are moving into a new house. Give your time to your children, not just when they need it but when they want it. Give your honest advice when someone truly wants it and is in need of wisdom.
Apparently I could go on and on, but you get the drift. Don't mistake me for saying that buying a material gift is never a good, thoughtful, or even the best option. But giving doesn’t have to be turned into who can buy the most expensive item or how can we outdo what we did last year. Even gift giving on the holidays can be as simple as any of the suggestions above. We don’t need to get ourselves into a frantic and spend tons of money or go into debt just to be able to get some relatively meaningless gift for a friend or family member. Sure it’s so much fun to go shopping and find deals and wrap things in pretty paper and bows. But let us be sure it is not in place of some of the simpler things of life? Do we really need a better toaster or a new scarf? Do our kids really need 10 new, shiny toys that eventually fade and end up cluttering up their toy box, sitting next to the rest of the toys they no longer notice? Does the exchange of $50 gift cards really make a difference in the kinship of family? I always find it hilarious how I’ll get someone a $50 gift card to a restaurant and they’ll get me a $50 gift card to a department store. Why don’t we just spend some time together, go out to eat, go shopping afterwards and keep our own money? Oh well. This year I vow to not make any purchases for Christmas and if you buy me something I will still be very appreciative. I will accept it graciously and with a warm spirit, but please don’t feel any less loved when you don’t receive a “wrapped” gift in return. I love you and value having you, my dear friends and family as an intricate part of my life! I am excited and am very much looking forward to the holidays this year! It’s my favorite season for a reason. Because each year it breaks my heart wide open again for the magical cheer and gift giving on a deeper level!
Happy early holidays in the words of a mother!

Oh and I'm planning on doing lots of baking this season so get ready friends, family, and neighbors for pies and cookies! I want to try some new experimenting this baking more from complete scratch!

I am totally making this drink for the holidays this year! See link below for recipe.


  1. Awesome! I'm holding you accountable to this one :)
    I can't stand all the consumerism during these times. People get sooo stressed and for what??? Come on, where's the common sense? Giving comes from the heart, and and if there is stress involved it's not the heart. Good words amberkins!