I’ve been so lucky to have had the most magical, generosity-laden Christmases my entire life. The kind where, when combined with my cousins’, our gifts for each other filled more than half the room. We started the tradition of opening the “annual” 23rd of December gift, just to make a dent in the pile (my Dad still insists this never happened, but we make sure to reinforce each year.) We’re totally, totally spoiled. This Christmas, I will continue to be completely, unfairly spoiled because there is no end to my family’s generosity, yet, things will be a little different from our corner. Hubs and I are on a budget, and according to our financial advisor (again, my Dad,) if we want to be in a certain place by spring, Christmas gifts for all are not an option. Upon hearing this, I cried. How lame, to be at the point in your life when you’re *supposed* to be financially set, and not even be able to give back to all the people who make life so worth living all year long. Not cool. I’m still not happy about it.
Deep down, I know, you know, we all know that Christmas is not about gifts. At its heart (if we’re not talking religion,) it’s about giving in every way. It’s about real, quality, laughter-filled time with the people you love most. Maybe then, it’s a good thing for us to spend one year not so focused on what to buy people but what we can give back, instead.
I’ve been researching ideas that are fun and free or nearly free. Consider adding one of them to your normal foot long list of things to buy. Who knows, maybe this could become the new 23rd of December tradition..?
Homemade Food Gifts That Aren’t Baked Goods (Oprah) - Of course, some of the best homemade gifts you can give are the edible kind. These are great ideas for some of the hottest ingredients in the culinary world: infused sea salts. If you think that’s stupid, there’s always the beer advent calendar…
Ranking the Best Christmas Songs of the 20th Century (Buzzfeed) – One of my prouder moments was making friends and family (forcing them to accept) Christmas music mixes I tailor-made for them. At the time, they probably were like, “Hey, thanks. Please leave me alone.” Years later, I still get messages from people saying they’re again enjoying the mix I made for them. Knew it. I highly recommend making a few good mixes for people whether they want it or not. This list will get you started.
31 Merry Christmas Gifts of Love and Service (MomLife Today) - Yes, I think some of these are pretty hokey, but I’m not “that” lady. As in, the super crafty, Bible-verse sharing type. But, maybe you are. I think there are some great ideas on this list, especially things that people won’t take the time do to themselves, like a calendar filled with your family’s pictures, birthdays, and special events for the year ahead. Love that.
Charitable Christmas Gifts (Marie Claire) - If you’re bound and determined to do some buying, at least incorporate some of these charitable gifts, which have proceeds going to various charities and great organizations. Every little bit helps!