I’m not sure if I’m just paying more attention this year, but it seems like every where I turn, someone else is listing their holiday gift guide, and the minimalist in me cringes every time I see another one.
Don’t get me wrong, gift guides can be a fun and useful tool, sparking new ideas for items that could be genuinely helpful, useful or just plain nice to have, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
That said, can we take a moment to look at this a little more fully and ask ourselves a few bigger picture questions?
- What will bring the most joy to my loved ones?
- What will be the most memorable?
- Do I really need to give/receive more “stuff”?
I’ll let you in on a personal story that I don’t share often.
I’m an only child, and grew up in a middle class household with a lot more gifts under the Christmas tree with my name on them than I could possibly need. My town was quite affluent, and though I was definitely not among the kids in my high school parking their Cadillac Escalades before class, I’ve always been fully aware that I am incredibly fortunate and extremely privileged to have the upbringing that I did. If I’m honest, I’ve often tried to hide where I’m from because I’ve always been worried about the judgment that would come with it.
I’m sharing this because in recent years it has become quite clear to me what brings true joy and happiness. The spirit of the holidays and of life in general is the quality time spent with people you care for the most.
The number of people my guy and I buy gifts for each year continues to shrink drastically, and I’m noticing that many other friends and family members are moving in that direction as well. In fact, this year my partner and I aren’t exchanging gifts at all. We’re getting a few small token gifts for a couple people, but mostly it’s about creating priceless memories with each other and those closest to us, because there are more important things in life than long lines at the mall, credit card bills racking up and brightly wrapped gifts piled high.
Instead of making a wishlist, give the gift of time.
While money is a tool, time is the prize.
Ask yourself what you prioritize most and get serious about what kind of sacrifices you’re willing to make in order to prioritize those things.
Because really, the pretense of keeping up with the Jones’ is like being stuck on a hamster wheel. Someone will always be one-upping you, and the longer you play the game, the more your life will end up running you, rather than you living the life you want.
We’re all too busy worried about our own shit to be concerned with someone else’s. No one cares what kind of car is sitting in your driveway, whether you have the latest iPhone, or how many presents are sitting under the Christmas tree.
Ask any parent who has bought their child the toys they asked for, only to have them most interested in the box they came in, ha!
There are so many other ways to give gifts that are better than anything you can purchase in a store.
When you think back to holidays past, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? All those gifts you received under the tree (or for Hanukah, or any other holiday you might celebrate) that are now collecting dust? Or the smell of a special meal wafting from the kitchen, the taste of your grandmother’s pie, and how hard you laughed playing board games with your loved ones over a glass of wine? Which one is most important to you?
I’m challenging you to start thinking hard about your priorities and what means the most to you.
Ideas for experiences to gift to people that can cost minimal amounts:
- Go for a walk or hike a new trail.
- Try a new class at your gym with a friend.
- Tickets to a nearby attraction like a zoo, donkey sanctuary or concert.
- Check out a new coffee shop with a friend, or make them a cozy cup of tea at home.
- Having friends for a home cooked meal, or make it a potluck so you can all try something new. Better yet, trying cooking. a new dish together.
- Volunteering to be a babysitter for the night so a friend can have a much-needed night out.
- Taking a road trip to destination you have wanted to check out, have a staycation to play tourist in your own city.
Let me know what you come up with! And if you’re looking for how to survive and thrive over the holidays or get your family on board with a healthier lifestyle, make sure to check out the Room to Grow podcast and join my tribe here for regular updates, free goodies and all the extra stuff that doesn’t get shared anywhere else 😉