Thursday, December 7, 2017

Gift giving for a CALM CHRISTMAS

We are nearly finished with the Calm Christmas  series.  I will be sharing about hosting for a calm Christmas next.  My deepest wish is that all of us, myself included, can streamline our holidays, in various ways, and out of that intentionality, open-handedly offer something different to our loved ones. The world offers chaos and pressure to do, buy, get, make, be and attain.  We can offer calm.  We can offer quiet and peace.  We can offer a heart, a home and yourself in a way that sooths and beckons a gentle welcome out of the fray. We can be used to bless and we can do it without feeling the pressure of "one more thing" on the listI have just a few simple ideas for gift-giving to share today, and all are inexpensive and under-done in a world where over-done is the norm.

When it comes to gift-giving, my head wants to explode.  I would imagine that I'm like most people, who truly enjoy loving on others by giving them ALL something their heart can delight in... but my budget often wants to give them a happy meal toy instead.  Knowwhatimean? Or perhaps you go the other way and can't think of the perfect thing to give, so you feel tremendous pressure. Perhaps you overspend to please, or perhaps you don't exchange at all because everyone has everything they already need and your item will simply get returned anyway.  Regardless, gift giving is meant to bless but it often doesn't, either for the giver or the receiver.  Obviously I don't know the people you are gifting, but I'd love to share a few solutions that have worked very well when it comes to gift exchanges, in my past, from exchanging with extended family, to close friends.  The key in all of them, have been communicating very honestly about what we could or could not commit to, on the front end.  I can't stress that enough.

For exchanges with friends, a favorite things exchange is often fun, provided the group is smallish.  It's easy to set a five dollar per person limit and purchase several of the same, favorite item to offer each one.  I'm doing this with my bible study group and thought I would share so you can get the idea.  There are five of us in the group so each person brings four of their favorites to give each of the other people.  I love the Anthropologie initial mugs but they were slightly over the allotted budget.  I found a Target knock-off and was able to grab one for each of my friends.  I created a sweet little tag and that was that.

Baking in pretty packaging is always a fun idea and stretches if you have many to hand out... and don't be afraid of packing up store-bought treats.  It's not like it's a contest.  Trader Joe's has awesome treats this time of year and by buying several boxes and then breaking them up for combined goodie trays it's like a mini treat collection that anyone might enjoy.

Doing stocking stuffers, rather than big gifts can be really fun both with your own family, as well as with other extended family or friends. This works well with those who have everything, as do the following two ideas.

Books swaps.  Everyone brings a wrapped copy of their favorite book, and then play it like a white elephant where each person grabs a gift from the pile, opens and can steal from one another, etc.

Experiences rather than gifts, such as a sport outing, a performance or concert or simply a day out together having a meal, taking a walk, seeing a movie together, enjoying lights and such.  A planned game night with friends is always fun in lieu of gift exchanges as well.  For New Year's Eve, we purchased a murder mystery game on Amazon and our teenagers parceled out the parts to several of their friends.  We will be hosting a small gathering, coming in costume and in character and playing that during the course of the evening.  It's a fun idea and so much better than sitting around.
Also giving something live... a little rosemary tree in a sweet container, a potted plant or paper whites that have been forced in a container are nice gift ideas that most people can appreciate.  They work well for hostesses, teachers or last minute gift exchanges too.  I forced a paper white bulb in a small mason jar by adding a few pebbles at the bottom, placing the bulb on top and watering until just touching the base of the bulb.  It took me just a moment to create and I was able to make several of them at once and give them away for blooming mid-December.  Add a sweet topping or tag and you've got an easy and inexpensive gift. (If you don't like the scent of paper whites, you could do this with an amaryllis bulb or hyacinths too, but the cost would increase.)

In closing, I'd like to simply say that standing strong and setting your boundaries and limits will only enhance your calm in the long run.  It's easy to get swept away by people pleasing or not speaking up in large family gatherings when this topic arises but if you take the time for self care here, you'll be better for it through the season and you won't be nearly as frantic with shopping demands.  Pretty sure we could all welcome that!
Here's to a C A L M    C H R I S T M A S! 

1 comment:

  1. Such cute ideas! Do you mind sharing where you purchased the greenery you used for the mugs?