Christmas is here. As the delivery drivers drop off goodies in all shapes and sizes at my door, at all random hours of the day and even night, I am reminded that we have entered a season of giving, and I’m so excited!
Many people are overwhelmed by the amount of gifting that takes place during this month, and if you’re not a good gift-giver or are struggling this holiday season, this post is for you!
I haven’t always enjoyed the gifting part of Christmas, because when you are on a budget it is hard to know how to stretch that dollar in order to make sure people know that you actually love and appreciate them, and also are not looking to simply clutter their lives with another item.
Being a mom, I love seeing the pure joy in my kids’ faces as they opened up gifts. It made me want to give them the perfect gifts – the hottest toy of the year or something equally as exciting. Until I realized that it wasn’t the actual gifts that they were excited about, it was the entire experience (right down to the box the gift is in!) and our excitement as we cheered them on with every rip of the wrapping paper. This got me thinking: what is the point of gifting?
I see gifting as an opportunity to show love and appreciation, it’s also a way to receive love from others. And sometimes we can get a bit carried away, but love is not a numerical formula. There is not an accurate amount of money that equates to how much someone is treasured. In order for someone to feel loved, usually being listened to, understood, and valued all go hand in hand.
So here is my secret to shopping at Christmas time: listen to loved ones throughout the year.
Simple, right? It can be, if you consistently listen and take notice of what your loved ones care about. I love to take note of things that my family and friends are involved in and choose to talk about with interest and then surprise them with something that is fitting. For example: I have a good friend who recently has taken up knitting and is so excited about it! I have absolutely no clue about knitting, however this past summer I went to a fabric store and saw a display of really cool yarn bundles on sale. Knowing my sweet friend really has taken to this craft, I purchased quite a few and made her a nice knitting lover’s basket for her.
If you’re not sure how to go about it, here are some easy tips to keep in mind:
- Listen & list it!
Trying to keep track of everyone’s likes can be daunting so try keeping a printed list with loved ones’ names that you can easily access while out and about this holiday season. Throughout the year, you can even keep track on your smart-phone under the notes app. This will give you the opportunity to think of others outside of the month of December and can be used for birthdays, too.
- Homemade = from the heart
Another thing to keep in mind is that homemade gifts are extremely priceless. Spending time baking treats or if you are crafty making a treasure of some kind, whether it be a scarf, hat, candles, jewelry, etc… those gifts are irreplaceable because they were made with intentional care and love for the person whom it was gifted to. This applies specially to gifts from children, who doesn’t love a handmade bracelet from a grandchild or a handwritten card by a toddler?
- Send a simple holiday greeting
We live in a wonderful time where there are many ways to connect with other people – whether it be via social media or even simple email, there are ways to stay in touch. Ironically, however, there are still lots of people who feel lonely and isolated around the holiday season. So if you are unsure what to gift someone, simply writing a Christmas card with a letter of why you value the individual can warm their heart and show that someone is thinking of them.
This holiday season, let’s all take a moment and look around at everyone who has blessed our lives, and let’s remember to let them know- even with the simplest of gestures. Gift giving should be done in a way that shows our sincere gratitude and love; let’s release ourselves of the pressure of perfection.
Adina is Co-founder and CFO of momsplained.com. A full-time mom and wife, she dedicates her days to developing children in the classroom while raising her three children with her loving husband. With one child on the autism spectrum and years of early education experience, she focuses on educating others on behavioral conditions in children.