I have to admit, each year my skin starts to crawl when I think about shopping for those holiday gifts. Don’t get me wrong, I love the people in my life and the idea of showing them how much they mean to me warms my heart, but the shopping and preparing and stressing, drives me crazy. <Insert your typical “true meaning of Christmas” lecture here.>
For me, it’s all about finding a balance so that I can stay true to my spiritual and environmental beliefs while also embracing the fun-filled traditions of the season, especially for my little one.
Here are a few of my personal tips on how to honor your spiritual side during the holiday gift-giving frenzy:
- Serve Instead of Give: If you ask most people what they need more of, they’d probably tell you time. A great way to give your loved one something of value, while also honoring the environment, is to give services instead of products. Offering to make supper for one week or mow their lawn over the summer is a great start. And many times, just planning an extended visit is more than enough to show that you care.
- Send Positive Vibes: It’s never too early to teach your children about the power of intention (and if it supports your belief system — the power of prayer). Take time to sit and close your eyes and send love and positive energy to your loved ones. Encourage your family to do the same. You can visualize sending beautiful colors to them, feel yourself sending warmth from your heart, or pray for their well-being. This type of gift is always free, it doesn’t take up any space, and it brings the most value for both the giver and the receiver.
- Create, Create, Create: If you’d rather give something that they can unwrap, consider making the gift yourself. Homemade gifts are more meaningful, and the process of creating them shifts your mood. Any form of self-expression, such as crafting, calls your soul to the surface. And you don’t have to be Martha Stewart to try this, just start simple. It can be as easy as combining sea salt and baking soda in a decorative jar for a relaxing bath experience. Pinterest is also a great resource for craft ideas.
- Exchange Rather Than Purchase: If you have children, a money-saving, environmentally friendly way to bring new toys into the house is to start an exchange with another family with children of similar ages. One child’s trash is another’s treasure. Consignment shops are also great resources for gently used toys.
- Shop During Normal Hours: If you still feel called to do some traditional holiday shopping, try to stick to the normal store operating hours. Every year, store hours become longer and longer to support holiday shoppers. Think about all of the employees who are working mandatory overtime at ridiculous hours instead of spending time with their own family.
- Donate: Buying gifts for needy families, donating gently used toys, and volunteering your time at local shelters are all great ways to care for those in need. You may also consider asking your children to choose one new toy they’ve received for the holiday and donate it before even opening it. This is a great way to teach them the joy of giving others something that is valuable to them.
- Include Nature: Many times we think about family and friends when it comes to gift-giving, but don’t forget about the other living creatures that need our help. You can make edible animal-friendly decorations out of peanut butter and bird seed to decorate the trees outside. If you live in a suitable climate, you can plant a tree. Not only will you give back to the Earth, but you’ll shift your energy just by spending time in nature and taking in all that fresh air.