The Season of Giving

Holiday time is supposed to be a joyous occasion.  A time for family, sharing food and gifts, vacations, and festivities. Yet, all too often, we get stressed with the “to do” list for the holidays.  There’s holiday shopping, baking, travel planning, party planning, finding babysitters, making room for guests, writing holiday cards, trips to and from the airport, more shopping, gift wrapping, lines at the post office, winter weather, and multiple invitations to festivities which requires even more shopping.  It can really take its toll.

There’s the endless question of what to get whom and then trying to anticipate what they’re going to get you. Trying to remember what you got each other last year.  Then, there’s the unexpected gifts and you’re left feeling badly because you didn’t buy that person a gift.  Often, there’s the Secret Santa at the office, your mail carrier, newspaper delivery person, maybe your dry cleaner, dog walker, babysitter, etc.  It’s overwhelming at times. There are gifts to exchange or return.

What has happened to the season of giving?  It’s like we’re giving all we’ve got and getting burnt out in the process.  This doesn’t seem to be what was intended.

Yet, we continue this mania every year and swear we won’t do it again next time.  How do we break the cycle? We can set an intention for how we want the holiday season to be.

Who do we really want to spend it with and where do we want to be?  Set your priorities and set about making it happen.

If you’re going to be traveling, then make plans several months in advance.   It’ll save you time and money in the long run.

Don’t just buy for the sake of buying at the last minute. Try and plan ahead.  If there are people on your annual holiday gift list, then buy items for them during the year and keep them till the holidays.

Go to the after Christmas sales and stock up on wrapping paper, cards and ribbons when items are reduced in price.

For the kids, get them things that can really stimulate their intellect and teach them skills, rather than toys that will be discarded after a few days.  Give away toys that aren’t being used to children who really need them.

Set up “wish lists” online so that you don’t receive gifts that you’ll have to return.

Shopping on line (securely) can also save time so you don’t have to run from store to store and save money with not using so much gas.

Buy gift certificates to avoid returns and exchanges. You could give a certificate to the recipient’s favorite retail or grocery store, for a massage, a movie rental subscription, an alternative healing modality, movie tickets, to a restaurant, for an astrology reading, a day at the spa, museum tickets to a special exhibition, the dry cleaner, etc.

Or, you could gift a personal service: babysitting, offering your vacation home, or a free initial consultation for a service which you offer professionally.

If you don’t really need anything or know people who have everything, ask for or give a donation to a favorite charity.

Rather than trying to cook for everyone yourself, ask friends to come over early and help or have a potluck.  Or, order out.

Don’t feel that you have to go to every holiday party to which you are invited. Rather, set up a time when you and others can meet in a smaller group setting and actually have a real conversation.

Get a massage, a manicure, a pedicure, take a day off from work, extend your meditations, or do whatever you need to give yourself a break.

It is the season of giving, but you have to remember to give to yourself or you’ll be depleted.  It’s ok to put yourself first, turn off the phones, and take a break so that you can be rejuvenated for the holidays.  It’ll be the best gift you can give yourself.