Here it is… Black Friday! Everyone is ready to consume their fair share to bring joy to the holidays. Gift giving is a great way to share with others, but is there another way we can do this mindfully? Here is what we have come up with for our family. Please share your ideas as well, you may just inspire someone else:
- Buy Local. Yes, you can buy every toy imaginable at Amazon, but what about your local toy store? These mom and pop shops are becoming few and far between. It is up to us to keep our local business owners open and grow our own economy. My favorite Greenville, SC places to shop are OP Taylors, Roots, Palmetto Olive Oil, Style By Becca, and Crave. We are also truly fortunate to have great local artists so we can get one of a kind pieces for family and friends.
- Buy Services. Instead of buying something that might just sit and gather dust, consider purchasing a service. Who wouldn’t want a gift certificate to their favorite hair salon, pedicure place, massage therapist, yoga studio or car wash? This way you know it will be used and enjoyed by the recipient. (Here’s my shameless plug– We even have online gift certificates this year if you want to give the gift of yoga.)
- Have an Experience. This year instead of buying more stuff to fill our house and toy boxes, we are choosing to take our family somewhere for an experience. A trip to Atlanta to High Art Museum and Georgia Aquarium and $20 each for the gift store is something they will treasure longer than last year’s toy. We even asked the grandparents to skip the gifts and help us get tickets to the Lion King. Something we couldn’t afford on our own and another memory we can share with each other. One year I got very creative and made 12 cards for Brian. It was the 12 Dates of Christmas. Each one included a gift certificate to a local restaurant or a coupon for a back rub. I even got Brian’s mom to give us a gift card for 3 free nights of babysitting. This way our gift extended through the year and didn’t cost us anything to go out.
- Give to Charity. There are some wonderful opportunities to give in other’s names. You can find a charity that suits that person’s interests and give in their honor. Some great ones I have found are Seva (Compassion in Action) and Heifer International. Another idea is to shop for another family in need and take pictures of what you have purchased. Make a special card and let the person know you sponsored a family in their name.
I love the Christmas / Winter Solstice season and everything it represents- light, hope, charitable giving, kindness and faith. May we chose to remember what the season is truly about and give gifts that really mean something this year.