Do the holidays stress you out? Me too. The last minute struggle to beat the crowds and find a gift that won't end up in someone else's regift pile is stressful. Not to mention the financial strain that it causes.
Shopping on Christmas eve? Does this sound like you? Why? What is it all for? Giving and receiving gifts is wonderful, but spending quality time with loved ones is priceless.
What if there was another way to celebrate the holidays? What about alternative options to gift buying. Have you ever had a "Buy Nothing Christmas" or a "DIY Christmas"? Homemade gifts are an excellent way to show someone near and dear to you that you love them, but it allows you to disengage from the consumer attitudes that have come to dominate our holiday season. Christmas has really lost its spirit and true meaning. Most consumer holidays have. As consumers we blindly follow the societal standards for holidays and usually end up breaking the bank, doing more harm than good. I am a woman and I hate Valentines day. Yes, you heard that right. I hate Valentines day. It isn't because I am single and bitter. It isn't because no one ever gave me candy or roses. Quite the opposite... I am happily married to the man of my dreams. He shows me how much he loves me 365 days a year. I don't need him to buy me flowers that cost 3 times more than normal flowers because a made up holiday says he should. We have a "No Valentines Day" pact in our home. However, we do usually spend that day together, free of distraction and make sure that we set aside some quality time together in a sea of hectic days. My views on Christmas have come to be the same. I love the chilly winter days with the fireplace roaring, Christmas decorations as far as the eye can see, a tree in the corner of the room that has years worth of memories hanging from it, delicious, bountiful meals and quality time with family. I just don't think that has to include exchanging gifts that none of us really need or want. I know, I know... you are going to say "What about the children?" I say, teach them early about the importance of family togetherness, the spirit giving back, and the true heart of what Christmas means. For the last two years we got each of our kids 4 gifts only - Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. For everyone else in our life, we do a mixture of the things below, or simply do not exchange gifts. Instead we exchange hugs, stories, memories, meals together etc. Do you have a fun alternative to holiday gift giving? We would love to hear it.
1. Have an abundance swap. Give away one nice item that you have but really do not need
2. DIY gift exchange using only items you have around the house or with a set $ amount
3. Host a homemade food swap and have a big potluck
4. Share an experience or plan a group outing together
5. Donate to a charity on a loved ones behalf
6. Adopt a family in need for the holidays
7. Send a care package to a soldier
8. Visit a local nursing home and spend time with those who don't have family
9. Have a Re-gift swap. We all have those random gifts floating around collecting dust in their packages.
10. Make a custom coupon book
11. Gift a magazine subscription
12. Donate the gift of your time
13. Get creative at a second hand store
14. For Spouses - Instead of getting each other gifts, combine the money you would have spent and get something you both have really been wanting for the house that they whole family can enjoy.
15. Spend the day as a family delivering meals to seniors
16. Start a holiday memories journal that the whole family writes in on Christmas
17. Host a holiday movie marathon
18. Have a "cleaning out the closets" clothing exchange
19. Go caroling as a family
20. Deliver cookies to people who have to spend the holiday working
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