Giving the perfect gift can feel overwhelming. I know I have felt pressured in the past to find something just right for my mother in law and of course my father in law plus the secret santa that I pulled at the family thanksgiving dinner. I have three kids of various ages and then add to it the teacher, teacher aid, and bus driver gifts along with the surprise “white elephant” for the office party, it’s one continuous opportunity for stress and anxiety!
Did you know that some families also send christmas cards IN THE MAIL?! Imagine my feeling of complete “mom fail” when I started getting cute holiday family portraits in the mail before I even began wrapping my children’s gifts. But I decided a few years back I am done with the stress of the “perfect gift”, I refuse to rush from store to store, and before you say it - I CANCELED my Amazon Prime membership! So that’s not even an option and I will not allow obligation to push me into anything more.
I believe that many nationally recognized holidays have become over marketed and often based on materialism to the point that there is such a thing as the “wrong gift”. That's right, someone makes the effort to give us a gift but because it isnt something we expected we can easily become offended. I am guilty too, I have regifted things in the same bag I got it in, no shame in my game! Because I have come to fully embrace the practice that the best gifts I can ever give are the ones given in love.
It sounds sappy but it's actually very liberating and establishes healthy boundaries. Allow your heart to lead when searching for gifts this year. What do I mean by allow your heart to lead? Simple! Begin by making a list of people you are considering giving a gift to, now check it twice! Each name on the list should immediately bring joy to your heart and a smile to your face, if they do not, cross them off the list! Purchasing gifts out of obligation instead of love is an unhealthy behavior that can lead to overspending and even emotional resentment. Secondly, consider a realistic spending limit to accommodate gifts, extra meals for celebrations, and keep in mind your bills will still be due on January 1st. Last, keep the recipient in mind when buying gifts. This sounds like a no brainer but often times when gift giving due to obligation, we have a very difficult time finding the “perfect” gift. We believe we have to give a gift so we dont lead with our heart and may end up buying a cheap gift that we can regret later.
If you have made your list and checked it twice and this person makes your heart smile may I suggest the following gift ideas…
Give an experience such as making a meal together, provide a night or two of babysitting, take a weekend vacation, or buy tickets to a museum or theme park.
Buy local! It is very difficult to get packages delivered on time any way, support your community by purchasing from local small businesses. Buying from small businesses allows us to be a part of our local economy and as an extra bonus, many small businesses can make custom gifts, all you have to do is ask!
Make a gift! Baked goods in boxes from Dollar Tree are one of my favorite holiday hacks and everyone loves a box of cookies. My children have also painted flower vases and photo frames for loved ones. It makes my kids happy to see those gifts used throughout the year.
What are some ways you make gift giving a more mindful experience during the holidays? Share in the comments!