If you were to take a random poll of the people you know and ask them about their favorite holiday memory, the majority of them would be connected with meaningful moments spent with loved ones more than they would be about the actual gifts they received.
Think back to last year and try to remember at least two gifts you received and then try to remember who gave them to you. The holidays have become more about getting that perfect ___; you fill in the blank, than they have about the meaning behind the gift. This year, especially with the economy the way it is, why not try some more creative and meaningful gift giving.
If you are part of the “sandwich generation” why not have your kids make gifts for other family members. Better yet, schedule an intergenerational craft day where grandchildren and grandparents make something together. Let them pick the craft they want to make and then videotape their time together. The video is a meaningful gift that saves the memory and allows it to be relived over and over. It’s not about what was made together but about the memories made while doing it.
One larger societal problem, and most of us have had this at one time or another, is that we can tend to give from the pocketbook and not from the heart. We can all overextend ourselves financially during the holidays, the question is why? Because we want to keep up with Cousin Mary who likes to buy extravagant gifts or we feel if neighbor Mike bought us 2 gifts last year we should have 3 for him this year. Doing this turns the spirit of giving into a one-upping contest.
Especially in this economy many wonderful charities are struggling to make ends meet. So why not take the money you would have spent on each other and give it to an organization that helps people in need. People who would be receiving these gifts may get annoyed by this idea, because we have been told by advertisers that the season is all about giving that new gadget or sweater.
The reality is, when we really think about it, do we really need one more piece of clothing, knickknacks for your shelf or picture for your wall? There are, however; many hungry people in the world and many wonderful organizations that need funding and many families in need. Find a local charity and donate to them, they need your funding more than most of us need another sweater or music CD.
Finding meaningful ways to give to others is also a gift you can give to yourself.