Changing the Present — Giving Differently

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.

  1. Share a favorite quote, poem, or bit of prose — or something in your own words — that encouraged, uplifted, or inspired you.
  2. Choose two or three funny memories you share with at least one person in the room and be ready to tell all.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. Tell a truly embarrassing story that you have not told anyone before (maybe just one other person) that would be fun to share.
  6. Share a song that may be sung, played on an instrument, or recorded with lyrics that you enjoy.
  7. 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).
  8. Create a collage of pictures, inspirational sayings, or recipes that would be meaningful to the receiver.
  9. Put together a snack basket for your football enthusiast.
  10. Gather old jewelry, hats, wigs, and clothes to create a dress-up box for children.
  11. Choose to share the memory of one of your all-time favorite tangible or intangible Christmas gifts.
  12. 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

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