I love the time of year from late October to January – it is my absolute favorite time of year. There’s the slightest crispness in the air – even if it’s still 80 degrees out (it’s subtle, but it’s there). I can actually enjoy watching the sun rise in the morning (even though it’s pitch dark by the time I leave work). And then there’s the flurry of holiday activity starting with It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown to ringing in the new year with resolutions and a kiss.
But starting as early as November 1st, I found myself overwhelmed with commercials, email blasts, and glaring billboards telling me where to find the “Perfect Gift” this holiday season! Sweaters and jewelry – buy this and she’ll know you love her. Outrageous car payments and credit card bills – what could be more festive? Suddenly I realized how commercialized Christmas had become in our quest for perfection with a bow.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a HUGE fan of gifts and giving at the holidays. But there has to be a better way.
So this holiday season I’m trying something new – I chose one gift for everyone and started giving at Thanksgiving.
Instead of spending hours shopping for the “perfect gift” for everyone, I selected a few bottles of wine for Thanksgiving-giving. The idea is that, while sitting around celebrating family and friends, each recipient can raise a glass, share a laugh, and take a moment to look around the table with joy and gratitude for the moment. Simple.
Well that’s not very personalized – you may think. That doesn’t show the person how thoughtful you are by selecting something just for them.
But just how thoughtful is running from place to place, half crazed in the crowd and spending money you don’t have? Who are we really proving something to when we kill ourselves trying be “thoughtful”? There’s nothing wrong with minimizing your list, simplifying your gifts and giving when you feel it’s most appropriate. After all, the perfect gift doesn’t have to be something you wrap up with a bow. Wine with friends, a cup of coffee, a simple phone call. Sometimes it’s more important not remember that something was given, but a memory was enjoyed instead.
Plus, by simplifying the process, I’ve lifted some of that last-minute stress and given myself the great gift of time. Time to enjoy this most wonderful time of the year with those I love most doing things we love best: selecting a tree, decorating our home, looking at the lights.
Actually enjoy the holiday season – not just shop around for one.