This holiday season, you’re bound to have some things on your wishlist that are, well, material. You’d love that new sweater, a new makeup set, or the latest gadget. Trust me, I’m in the same boat. And without a doubt, the people you’re shopping for are too. In my experience though, I’ve loved every gadget or new coat or big ticket item and I’ve been fortunate to have exciting gifts like that to unwrap.
But the best gift is one that has more meaning. To me, when you give, if you’re struggling between the new iPhone or a new laptop or a pair of Beats headphones for that special someone you’re buying for, scratch that list and be meaningful -- donate, create, and listen.
These are three broad suggestions, but they’ve made my shopping experience so much more special and fun for my loved ones. Don’t get me wrong! Getting that new gadget is so fun too and I’ve bought some exciting items for people. But when it comes down to it, there is a big idea we tend to miss during this season, and that is that it’s about doing good and rejoicing in what we have rather than flaunting our gifts.
My first idea under this big umbrella of giving differently is to donate. I’ve asked for this over the years and the gifts are so special. You can find a local or national/international organization to donate to that you can give in the name of your loved one. One year, my parents donated to World Wildlife Fund in my name to help with polar bear conservation, and because I was so invested in environmental protection as I still am, that gift meant everything to me. My family has donated in the names of our loved ones to send a goat or other farm animal, or even a beehive, to a village family in need somewhere around the world. If we already have a warm home and a beautiful life, why not indulge in giving others something important and life-saving during this season?
My second tip is more interactive and fun, and it involves getting creative. Hear me out though, I’m not an artist by any means. But some of my favorite gifts for people just come from listening to your heart a little bit and making something unique. You can get crafty if that’s your thing! The way I’ve done it is to frame photos, write letters, etc. Giving a photo celebrates a memory, and writing a letter to wish someone a happy holiday is inexpensive and something that will be cherished for a great period of time.
My third and final idea is to simply listen. A lot of the gifts I’m giving this year come from just listening more and learning what a person really desires and wants. That way, when they open the gift, it’s like a puzzle piece you finally found under the sofa -- a perfect fit! Some of the things I’m buying are also things I know my loved ones need and are more personalized. That could be a favorite lotion, a new pair of earbuds, or a favorite candy. This frame of mind in gift-giving will really help you make the holidays special for the people most important to you.
So when you’re struggling to finish your holiday shopping and you seem to have hit a dead end, think about donating, creating, and listening. You’ll truly light up someone’s season!