It's the season of giving. A season which, over the last couple of decades, has come to be dominated by rampant materialism.
The original intent behind exchanging tokens of care and affection long since forgotten, thanks to the power of marketing. Now gift-giving on a mass scale is more of an expectation and less of a choice.
And I don’t know about you, but for me that takes the good out of it.
This year, though, we have an unexpected opportunity to let all of that go and tap back into the original spirit of giving. We have the perfect excuse, if an excuse is what you need, to reconfigure how we mark the holidays.
All around the globe, many people will not be able to meet up with their families as they may have traditionally done. And while this is obviously disappointing, it does have the advantage of taking the pressure off having to arrive with perfect (and expensive) gifts in tow.
We can rethink what and how we give.
2020 has been a horrific year. But there have been a few upsides, and these are mostly related to a revised mindset around what really matters. Health. Family. Friends. Connection.
Many people have lost their livelihoods this year, and even if you’re financially stable, spare a thought for those who aren’t. Take the pressure off them in the gift-giving department and suggest a simpler approach this year.
Not being able to spend as lavishly right now doesn't mean we can't give as generously. We just have to give in a different way. This year, let’s get creative instead of clicking into online shopping carts.
What can you do for your loved ones that they would truly appreciate? Rather than spend money, give love, affection, companionship (if you’re able). Do something that truly demonstrates how much you care. Put aside time to spend with those you care about, even if that has to be through a virtual medium.
The warm glow in your heart will be very hard to beat.
And to top it all off, whatever we give in this fashion tends to come back to us. It is the law of giving and receiving.
"The universe operates through dynamic exchange . . . giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe." ~ Deepak Chopra
Following are some simple ideas, that aren’t unique, but can be truly helpful:
- Put a spending cap in place for each gift.
- If there are lots of nieces, nephews and grandchildren, do a Secret Santa instead of buying for each child. (Apart from the financial pressure, there is a significant time and stress element also involved.)
- Suggest home-made gifts instead of shop-bought.
- Look at spending on experiences, instead of things, that you and your loved ones can enjoy together when all this craziness is behind us.
In short, make it meaningful – being more about the thought and gesture than about the dollar amount.
Sew that seed among your inner circle and nurture it beyond this year. Let’s reinvent this season of giving.