The Alternative Gift-Giving Guide

The Christmas decorations are up.  We had our first cool/cold front come through this weekend here in Miami - currently 54° - and I'm looking forward to going out and enjoying this fall almost winter weather.  As I sit here sipping my coffee a commercial comes on showing "the countdown to Christmas" and only "14 days left to shop, are you done yet?"  Not sure about you, but that alone can be overwhelming and stressful.  It's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year - am I right? 

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For the past two "Wellness Wednesdays" I've shared posts 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 what I've recently started trying to do.  Mind you I'm not opposed to giving an actual tangible gift as well, but most times now it has a meaning behind it or it allows for experiencing a moment with that person.  Call me sappy, call me what you will, hope this gives people a moment to think about buying that next gift - oh and if you're looking for the typical holiday post around this time of year, "Eating Healthy For The Holidays" - here's the link to an older post.


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.

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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.  

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Give the Gift of an Experience - I did a coupon book one year with my nephews.  When I went to visit them we cashed in every coupon I made - picnic at the park, making their favorite homemade desserts, and more.  Truly memorable.  Why?  Not only was I spending time with them, but we were making memories. Memories that I hope they'll remember for a lifetime.  Okay that might be asking too much, but then that just means we need to make more memories together - I know those are the stories that we'll talk about for years to come.  This year I gave them a few board games (I hope they're not reading my blog).  Yes it's a tangible gift, but my hope is that they'll have their friends over and have a game night - make memories or make it a monthly get together.  And when Aunt Amy comes to visit, game ON!

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A few more ideas for giving experiences instead of gifts: 

  • 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.  

Make A Gift - DIY - most years when it comes to my co-workers I give a homemade gift.  Last year I made homemade salad dressing and bottled it up.  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've broadened my DIY abilities this year and made peppermint sugar scrub - coconut oil put to good use!  If my current co-workers are reading this blog, act surprised next Monday :)

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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!