This is not another holiday gift guide. Yes, we are nearing the end of the year and everyone is hitting the shops trying to find that right thing to give to people in their lives. There are “gift guides” popping up right around this time - on Instagram, in your email Inbox, in your targeted google ads that follow you wherever you go on the internet. They have such great suggestions for what to buy - fancy kitchen gadgets, beauty products, fashion (that you really want for yourself). But honestly, do the people in your life really need another knick-knack, tchotchke or whose-whatsit. If you can’t think of what to get someone that probably means they don’t really need anything.
Gifts, gifts, gifts
Gifts are like the magic quick-fix pill that makes up for us not being there for our tribe of people in the way we really want to be the rest of the year. I know that gift giving is one of the “love languages” but I don’t buy into that. Maybe it’s just easier to give someone a material possession rather than tell them you care right to their face.
Flexing your credit card to buy each other fancy gifts is not evidence of how much you love or care for your friends, family or significant other. Dependability, commitment, trust, being there for them in a tough time. These are the things that matter but they are hard to show off on social media on Christmas day.
Give your time
One real gift is your time. When you see your family and friends around the holidays make sure to really be there. Leave your phone alone. Listen to what people have to say. Yes, it might end up being confrontational and emotionally draining but giving someone your full undivided attention is probably what we need most from our nearest and dearest.
Create memories not waste
Another great way to make it more memorable is to spend the money not on gifts but on the beautiful meal you will share. Invest in your health by getting the best quality you can afford and if you forgo buying presents then you should have a much bigger budget. Get the pasture raised, organic meats like roast beef or turkey or whatever you have planned for your menu. Splash out on organic options, fancy dips or sauces and anything else you would probably forgo the rest of the year due to cost.
If you do feel the need to give something concrete why not give the gift of experiences like tickets to a concert, sporting event, massage or facial?
Or make something simple like jars with premixed cookie ingredients or special cookies you made. Jars with bath salts are also a great easy option, just fill with Epsom salts, baking soda and a few drops of essential oil. Present them in reusable glass jars so that the packaging isn't just more stuff headed to the landfill.
Why not gift something you already own? This works great with books you have already read that are sitting on your shelf doing nothing. On that note, if you have a tonne of books let me remind you that books at the library are 100% free! Once you’re done they won’t clutter your home.
Donating to a local charity in a person’s name is also a great gift. There are so many people less fortunate who truly don’t have the resources to buy what they need. The end of the year holiday season is an especially hard time for many people so it’s a great time to give money, time, food, clothing, toys or whatever is needed to an organization.
Support small local businesses
If you do really feel you need to give something how about only purchasing from small businesses that can really benefit from your support. It might take more time to find the right item than just going to a mall and picking something up from a big store but it’s going to end up being so much more special and rewarding.
So just like “opting outside” on Black Friday to avoid the shopping madness that has become an international sport, how about opting for friends/family time during the end of year holidays that doesn't revolve around buying affection with more physical possessions we probably don't need.