It’s that time of year…
Brisk days, runny noses, rosy cheeks, frosty mornings, twinkling lights, beanies and gloves, Christmas songs, cozy sweaters, warm baths, a comforting mug of tea, oh, and snow! (Please, please, please).
Of course there is more to the holidays, but these are a few of my favorite things. (Notice I didn’t mention an endless plates of cookies, shopping, traveling, family, short/dark days or all that stuff).
I prefer to focus on what fill us up (without food), and leave us feeling energized rather than depleted.
That is why I wanted to share some thoughts with you about giving and receiving, since these acts are deeply woven into what the holidays are all about.
Our society tends to focus on the stuff aspect of gifts. The classic consumerism that our economy is know to flourish on, and culture tends to flock to.“If you have this _________ then you will be happy.”Yes, sometimes that thing may bring us joy. Most likely it will have an expiration date and then that thing will end up in a corner gathering dust and taking up space in our lives.
So what if we changed the perspective on gift giving. What if we gave from our hearts. What if we gave something that was connected to our inner creative nature? What if we gave one of the numerous experiences life has to offer?
To me, the point of gift giving is to let those in our lives know just how much we care for them. We can let them know they matter without giving them a weird trinket.
When it comes down to it, what really matters is that this person is in your life, and you are grateful for that.I have created a list (maybe a bit too detailed) full of suggestions to give to those that matter most to you. These are not things, but experiences.
- a gift card to Julep Nail Parlor (they not only offer manicures and pedicures but facials and waxing. Bonus, you won't get a headache from all the chemicals.).
- a massage. Yes, you could buy a gift card, OR you could be a masseuse for an hour. I mean, most people won’t turn down a massage. However, if actually giving the massage doesn't float your boat you can give a gift of massage through Spafinder, which allows you to buy a gift card that can be used at heaps of places.
- Get together with your girl friends and put on your on self-pampering party. Manicures, pedicures, and facials of your own(google will help you find heaps of DIY recipes) .
- Gift cards for a yoga, barre, pilates, or acro-yoga.
- Here is something new (to me anyway) a Gift card to a Float Tank (aka a sensory deprivation tank). I tried this the other day and it was pretty surreal. Lifefloat and Float Seattle are a couple of options.
- Push the comfort zone and head to a woman’s day spa. It’s a great opportunity to be in your body, and notice that bodies are bodies. Different, shapely, and beautiful. Olympus Spa and Lady Well are a couple suggestions.
The Gift of Learning:
Let’s just be clear, this list could be endless. The key is to consider what you know about the person. Do they dream of traveling to foreign countries? To they love thrills? Perhaps they like something more intricate and calm? Here are some suggestions for gift to keep expanding the mind.
- Music lessons (this could be singing, drums (check out the hang), guitar, ukulele, or didgeridoo just to name a few:-)
- Computer skills (because sometimes us older folks don’t always know how to use technology)
- Cooking class. PCC Cook’s offer a lot of great options for all ages.
- Learn to speak a new language
- Learn self-defense, or just how to be a bad a$$ by learning a martial art (Jiu Jitsu, Karate, Taekwondo, Aikido, Judo, etc)
- Crafty classes: jewelry making, sewing, painting, photography, pottery, etc.
- Activity: horseback riding or orienteering (or the two together).
- Learn to meditate. Why not give the gift of peace and clarity?! Headspace offers a great app membership.
- It’s the perfect time of year to be indoors, so why not learn to rock climb at a local climbing gym.
- If you want something fun and interesting get members of your family a test to learn their DNA make up. Yes, each person’s DNA will be different! Ancestory as well as 23andMe are a couple of options.
On the Town:
- Gift card to a great dinning experience (Honestly, we have some pretty remarkable farm to table restaurants here in Seattle: Terra Plata, Art of the Table, Local 360, Tilth, and Sitka and Spruce are a few options.
- Tickets to: the aquarium, zoo, theatre, sporting event, museum, or concert venue
- Paint sip and chat at Canvas!
Oh, and don't forget, you can share things things together.
Get Out of Town:
- Go skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, hiking, road tripping. Make it a play day!
Do It Yourself:
- Home made Christmas Card. Take the time to share your love, gratitude and respect for someone written in your own words. Let them know how they have been a positive influence in your life. To me there is nothing more valuable then knowing I am appreciated and cared for.
- Make your own bath bombs.
- Create your own bulk tea blend (head to the bulk section at Wholefood or PCC and get creative. Don’t be afraid, it isn’t like baking, you can’t mess it. Let your imagination run wild. Add tea, spices, herbs, dried fruit. You got this!)
- Homemade pampering with a Sugar Scrub.
Donation and Service:
- Time is valuable, so offering your time is a beautiful gift. You can volunteer at your local food bank, plant a tree, help with trail maintenance, play with the animals at a local shelter.
- You could volunteer to clean your friends house, or sweep your neighbors leaves, or scrape the frost off the windows of their car.
The truth is we give because it feels good to be of service. To know we are making a difference, and it often fills our cup of gratitude.
So, the other side of giving is receiving. A gift is a symbol of your love and gratitude.
When someone gives you a gift (a hug, a card, a minion wallet (yes you read that correctly), a plate of cookies or a pair of socks) the most important thing for you to do in that moment is to receive it. Take it in to your life. In that moment accept the love and gratitude that someone has taken the time to express to you through this gift.
Honestly, breathe it in. It isn’t just a pair of socks, it is love. It is acknowledgement of you.
Even if the gift card to Cabella’s isn’t something you perceive you will ever use, it is a reminder that someone thought of you. Their intentions were based in love.
And, when you do end up with the strange trinket, it is not your obligation to keep it!! The purpose of the gift has been served once you receive it. The act of you accepting an item, expressing gratitude to those that thought of you are the only two things that you need to do to receive the gift. There is no rule that says you must keep it. Chances are they won’t even remember what they gave you in a years time. So if you don't want it or need it, let it go. Give it to someone you know that it will bring happiness to, or there is always Goodwill.
The underlying intention of the holidays is to spread love. It isn’t to buy and get things. It is to remind those that we care for how important they are.
I believe the greatest gift to give (or receive) is presence. To sit in each other’s company. Perhaps with a cuppa tea or a glass of wine. The fireplace cracking in the background. Sharing stories of your favorite memories together. Connecting with the gift of having this person in your life. Feeling the love. Basking in the gratitude for having such a fabulous person by your side.
In this moment.
Gifting never felt so good.