Slowing down and savoring the present moment is a challenge in December. In recent years my family collectively decided to change the way we conduct our holiday gift-giving to one another: from a practice that usually involved extensive shopping to one characterized by inexpensive but meaningful personalized gifts. This is what I would like to share with you – a look at giving differently.
In December we circulate a list offering ideas for giving. When we gather on Christmas Day we have made our selection and come prepared to participate. It is such a meaningful exchange that we move from laughing to crying, to laughing again, throughout the morning. The following is an example of such a list that symbolizes the 12 days of Christmas.
- Share a favorite quote, poem, or bit of prose — or something in your own words — that encouraged, uplifted, or inspired you.
- Choose two or three funny memories you share with at least one person in the room and be ready to tell all.
- Try a handmade gift from the kitchen such as a hot cocoa kit, a cloth bag filled with uncooked rice that can be microwaved to help soothe aches and pains, scented bath salts, or a favorite cookie mix kit.
- Choose five or six words that describe a person in the room (or somewhere else) and share why you chose those particular words (keeping it positive – this is Christmas morning).
- Tell a truly embarrassing story that you have not told anyone before (maybe just one other person) that would be fun to share.
- Share a song that may be sung, played on an instrument, or recorded with lyrics that you enjoy.
- Make a coupon book offering your services in any way that would be meaningful to the receiver such as a back and neck massage, dinner, babysitting, painting a room, computer tech support, or a household cleaning project (done without complaint).
- Create a collage of pictures, inspirational sayings, or recipes that would be meaningful to the receiver.
- Put together a snack basket for your football enthusiast.
- Gather old jewelry, hats, wigs, and clothes to create a dress-up box for children.
- Choose to share the memory of one of your all-time favorite tangible or intangible Christmas gifts.
- Share with all what you most appreciate in your life right now.
If we take a deep breath, step back, and refocus, we will discover the joy of simplifying and savoring the Christmas holidays. May this month of December be a time of relaxed enjoyment as we celebrate universal love, peace, and togetherness, and pledge to make it last all year long.
Until Next Time – Sylvia