The Alternative Gift-Giving Guide

The Christmas decorations are up.  We had our first cool/cold front last week and are expecting our next one this coming week, fingers crossed. I’m talking in the 50s ya’'ll, that’s “cool” for us Floridians and I will take it! As I sit here sipping my coffee and starting to organize my thoughts for the blog, I realized I haven’t bought a single gift this holiday season. Per the commercials and the sales I should already be well on my way through my list. I mean time’s a ticking. Am I right? Not sure about you, but the insinuation that I should be further along in my shopping just makes me anxious. And who’s to say that they even know how many gifts/items I need to get for people. It's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year - since when did that equate to having to give a gift. That’s definitely too much pressure for me.

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Last "Wellness Wednesday" I shared a post about alternative gifting during this time of year.  Here are my thoughts on gifting - no judgement if you're giving actual gifts to people, this is just a simple blog post to maybe get you to start thinking outside the box.  If this only makes you more stressed out, then make your list and start checking it off for those you need to give a gift to. There are plenty of bloggers out there making up their list of things to buy, which that could be of help - or maybe not if they’re all expensive gifts. Anyway, keep in mind I'm not opposed to giving an actual tangible gift, but most times when I do it has a meaning behind it or it allows for experiencing a moment with that person.  I’m actually doing that today. I’m writing out a few recipes that will go with this tangible gift that I bought someone. It will be my way to get them started in the kitchen. And hopefully each time they use the appliance and/or the recipes I send they’ll think of me. That’s when tangible goes with experiential - oh and if you're looking for the typical holiday post around this time of year, Holiday EATS  - here's the link for last week.

The most   epic   cheese board I’ve ever created - it’s only my 2nd one, but there’s more to come when they look this good!

The most epic cheese board I’ve ever created - it’s only my 2nd one, but there’s more to come when they look this good!

Avoiding the Sales - Black Friday and Cyber Monday may have already passed this year, but keep in mind it really is best to steer clear.  These days are geared towards the sale items and making the consumer think they're getting a good deal - retailers and advertisers know this. The sales are designed to take advantage of our desire to consume more, so much so some stores are even opening up earlier and earlier, some even on Thanksgiving.   Use this time instead of shopping and perusing online to start making your list of alternative gifts.  Creativity will be a must. This Cyber Monday I bought a few items. And in all honesty, while they were good deals - an air fryer for $40 vs $80 - it wasn’t an appliance that I really needed. Want vs need is a tricky thing.

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Your Time is a Gift - It's hard to put a price on your time.  But if I were asked "what one gift would I want to receive for Christmas?  My answer would simply be, "your time".  It sounds cliché but it's the simple truth.  The people I care about mean much more to me than having the latest gadget.  So the next time someone asks you to make a list, let them know that the best present is their presence.  And time is something hard to come by at times. In all of the hustle and bustle and stress of the holidays, I tend to stay close to home and decline offers at times - I need to remember that spending time with others might be the best thing for me sometimes.

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Give the Gift of an Experience - In this past year this is what I have done with a few friends for either their birthday and/or a celebration of some sort. While sometimes an actual gift is involved as well, most times it’s just the actual experience itself - yes, I know money is involved, but there have been memories made that will last a lifetime. If you have to find a few free things to do and/or set limitations with your friends/family, do so. Overall I’ve had a good balance of free things mixed in with a few Groupon purchases as well.

Umbrella Sky Project - a display in Coral Gables for a few months by an artist - look at those shadows!

Umbrella Sky Project - a display in Coral Gables for a few months by an artist - look at those shadows!

Yoga on South Beach - by donation, every day at 7 am and 5 pm (switches when the time changes)

Yoga on South Beach - by donation, every day at 7 am and 5 pm (switches when the time changes)

A little free photo session at the pumpkin patch, aka Trader Joe’s. There weren’t any other pumpkin patches open the day we went, so we went to the next best thing. The pictures we took are priceless and well, looks like we’re at a pumpkin patch.

A little free photo session at the pumpkin patch, aka Trader Joe’s. There weren’t any other pumpkin patches open the day we went, so we went to the next best thing. The pictures we took are priceless and well, looks like we’re at a pumpkin patch.

Groupon Deal - 1/2 off the original price, full fledged fun with these two at Board and Brush.

Groupon Deal - 1/2 off the original price, full fledged fun with these two at Board and Brush.

Goat Yoga - let’s just say this is an experience that I will  never  forget. Naaamaste.

Goat Yoga - let’s just say this is an experience that I will never forget. Naaamaste.

And if you’re in need of a few more ideas for giving experiences instead of gifts, the possibilities really are endless:  

-Tickets to a special event

-Home Cooked Meal

-Sunrise/Sunset Seeking

-Hiking

-Pass to a Museum/Zoo

-Magazine Subscription

Pass Your Gift On - 'Tis true, it is better to give than receive.  If people ask what you'd like to receive as a gift, (and they are insistent and won't take NO for an answer) have a list ready of charities or non-profit organizations.  They can donate what money they'd use in giving you a gift and give to that organization instead.   Giving to others and truly making a difference to those that might not have as much as we do.  One of my family members gives a gift in my name every year to an organization. I think one day I might just need to take a trip and really experience that gift in person and see how we’re paying it forward.

Make A Gift - DIY - most years when it comes to my co-workers I give a homemade gift.  Last year I made a homemade peppermint sugar scrub - coconut oil put to good use!  I come from a family that food really is a sign of affection.  So what better way to give food but as a gift?  I haven’t thought about what I’ll make this year, but I’m sure food will be involved.

DIY Peppermint Sugar Scrub - coconut oil, sugar, and peppermint essential oil

DIY Peppermint Sugar Scrub - coconut oil, sugar, and peppermint essential oil

It might be a difficult transition weaving minimalism into the holidays, from what people normally expect this time of year.  The truth is your experiences build and strengthen the bond between you and the people you care about.   They'll understand, even if it takes a little bit of time.  Happy Holidays!

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