Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year (for some). Don’t get me wrong—I like Christmas, I do. Just not as much as I like Thanksgiving, or Halloween, or St. Patrick’s Day. Christmas is a beautiful time: white twinkle lights make the cold more bearable, the first snowfalls make the city streets seem magical, and everyone is excited for the parties and events that center on this enchanting holiday.
Yet, sometimes we can get the Christmas blues.
We miss passed loved ones, we regret past choices, we wish we could give more, we remember childhood memories, good and bad—and it’s a time for reflection, most certainly. I don’t believe it’s possible to feel true happiness; I believe that happiness is fleeting—it exists in the form of pleasure, which lasts but a moment. I believe that joy is longer lasting, but joy is a mixture of happiness and sorrow. Because who can look at a glowing Christmas tree without feeling both happiness and sadness? That’s what life’s about: lingering memories, future anxieties, and the rushed present.
And amidst all of that comes the stress of giving gifts. Some gifts might feel obligatory, and others we might delight in giving. Regardless, Christmas is most certainly a time we give. But there are many alternative ways to give during the holiday season.
If you want to avoid adding more clutter or unnecessary things in your life and others’ lives, here are some 5 alternatives or alternative gifts to give during the holiday season:
- CANDLES: I’ve stated before how much I love candles. They last longer than flowers, but not long enough you’ll have to pack them away. Candles add ambiance with seasonal scents and enchanting glow. They’re inexpensive, cozy, and always a great gift!
- ORNAMENTS: If you know of someone who values ornaments, they’re always a good gift. They have meaning, are beautiful, and small. However, they’re not for everyone!
- EXPERIENCES: Gift cards for ice skating, theatre productions, movies, and restaurants are useful and fun—a great way to get out and enjoy life despite the cold.
- SERVICES: Offer up your services as a gift. Perhaps you’re very organized, like me. That’s a great gift to give someone—your time and your talent. Write it out as a coupon and set up a date to help the gift recipient with whatever they need. Maybe you can offer a guitar lesson? A tech lesson? A gutter-repair job?
- WORDS: There might be people in your life who have no idea how valuable they are. Write them a poem, a song, a letter—anything—reminding them how smart, funny, beautiful, talented, kind, important they are to you and to the world. Everyone needs affirmation every once and a awhile. Find glitter and markers and some felt, and make your words beautiful and worthy of hanging up somewhere in their house.
BONUS: TIME. The best gift you can give someone is your time. That’s priceless. Block off a chunk of your time and let the gift recipient choose how you two will spend it.
You don’t have to give the traditional gifts this year. You don’t have to wonder what your loved ones want, choose some random thing, and fail at making them happy anyway. You can choose an alternative route. And it might be better for everyone.
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