December 3, 2018: Finding Gifts In This Holiday Season
“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
― Mother Theresa
The holiday season can be a joyful time, filled with treasured times with family and friends, and traditions that bring back poignant memories of past celebrations. It’s a time of year, when people seem to be more patient and kinder, extending greetings and courtesies that are too often not shared.
But it can also be fraught with the pressures to make it “perfect”, from a decorated house, art worthy baking, and challenges of finding the “best gift’. Magazines give us mixed messages, showcasing gorgeous pictures of glorious decorations, taste tempting cookies, and beautifully wrapped packages. Simultaneously, they contain articles on how to avoid the stress of the holidays.
This holiday season is one that has us scrambling to find the “just right” gift(s) for the list that seems to perpetually grow longer. I love the whole process of finding meaningful gifts. I’m fortunate, that in participating in all the shows we do, I have opportunity to see all kinds of potential gifts in the array of products created by the artists. But I still find there are times, when it is a challenge. In my case, what do you get for a 99-year old, who has everything he needs. What about a friend who is going through a difficult time in her life? Or a beloved grandchild who does not want to impose her wishes in contrast to her younger sister who has a list a mile long!
I’ve found a few strategies that seem to have help along with quotes to inspire me. .
“The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value.” Charles Dudley Warner
1.Establish a budget. I try to do this, but unfortunately I do not always follow this. Too often, after my shopping is supposedly done, I find something else that just has to be added.
“You take away all the other luxuries in life, and if you can make someone smile and laugh, you have given the most special gift: happiness.” Brad Garrett
2.Brainstorm a list of all of the recipients likes, needs, interests, etc. It helps to narrow the possibilities from the explosion of choices in the stores and online.
“Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection.” Pindar
3. Make the gift meaningful and personal Creating something handmade is always lovely, but if you don’t have the inclination or time, craft fairs that are abundant this time of year, are always a great source for gifts. You can find a wide selection of items and prices, to satisfy your list from Secret Santa’s and teacher gifts, to the “hard to buy for” relative. At the one we participated in this weekend, I was able to find adorable, knitted doll clothes for my granddaughters’ American dolls. They were beautifully made and a lot less expensive than the catalogue. I found a unique pizza cutter by a talented woodturner, to give to a family member who loves to create gourmet, brick oven pizzas. I love the fact that the crafts I find are made from the heart of the artist and not mass-produced in a far-off country.
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” — Charles Dickens
4. Give to the world: Each year, I give to organizations that I hope will help to better someone’s life or our world. Even though I know it’s just a small piece of the need for more research, food, & environmental care, it’s a ripple that is flowing out towards a better world.
5. My last strategy is always inspired by these two quotes.:
“Giving doesn’t always involve money” ― Charmaine J Forde
Giving time: which seems to be another burden in an already over-scheduled time of year, is sometimes the best gift we can give. with moments that truly can make a difference. Whether it’s a visit with a shut-in, an afternoon with a friend, a long overdue phone call with a long distance friend, an afternoon making gingerbread houses with children, or creating a seed and fruit-filled tree for the birds, it can often be a gift that keeps on giving…..to the recipient as well as ourselves.
“For it is in giving that we receive.” — Francis of Assisi
What have you found are the best gifts in this holiday season?
December 4, 2018
It has been a tough and challenging year but has allowed me the opportunity to reflect on what is really important. Spend time with your loved ones perhaps working on something together. Really doesn’t matter what it is – could be baking cookies, making a gingerbread house, painting a picture, just visiting but make sure you tell them that you love them and hug them tight even really hard but do not hurt them as tomorrow is not promised. Paying it forward keeping that special person in mind seems appropriate and an amazing gift. Life is FABULOUS and every day is special.
December 9, 2018
Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments Laurie. I agree with you, spending time with loved ones is probably the best gift we can give. It was a great reminder, especially during a hectic season. That’s what they will remember long after the excitement of opening presents is over.
December 4, 2018
It has been a tough and challenging year but has allowed me the opportunity to reflect on what is really important. Spend time with your loved ones – perhaps making cookies or a gingerbread house, painting a picture or just visiting. Make sure that you tell them that you love them and squeeze them tight even hard but do not hurt them. Tomorrow is not promised. Paying it forward while keeping them in mind seems appropriate and fulfilling. Life is fabulous and everyday is an AMAZING gift worth living!!!