Then the anxiety started to rise in me. Not becuase I was worried that she'd overspend, or the fact that she was spending more time in the toy section than where any adult gifts could be found. But because I *could not* bring myself to purchase a gift just for the sake of getting a gift under the tree for every person.
I could not get over the fact that I didn't know what they'd each want or need, so I felt completely paralyzed, not wanting to get junk they'd have to figure out what to do with after the fact.
Here's a list of gift inspirations that might just make your stress levels go down too, if you're anthing like me!
5 Gifts of Meaning
- Gift of REMEMBERING: these are very personal gifts, but don't have to be difficult. Create a simple photobook of a trip taken, or of the grandparents with the grandkids with quotes from the kids about what they love in Grandma + Grandpa. Create (or commission) a custom piece of artwork to commemorate a lost loved one (pets included!)
- Gift of TIME: if any young Moms are on your list, this is for her! Take her kids for a few hours so that she can shop alone, or clean, or REST! Every adult in our culture is pressed for time; how can you alleviate that for someone, and give them the gift of time?
- Gift of NEW MEMORIES: in other words, giving experiences over things. Can you plan a small trip, or staycation weekend? Try something new with your spouse and make a date of it (like the time I agreed to go to a ropes course, even though I'm terrified of heights. Best memories ever in the making!)
- Gift of SERVICE: One year, I bought personalized gifts for every adult in our family, but the gift didn't go to them. It was a gift given in their honor, based on their passions or expertise, through Voice of the Martyr's Gift Catalogue. For my Environmental Engineer brother, I gave a water purification system to an African villiage in his name, for my Epidemiologist sister, I gave towards immunizations in an impoverished area. For my animal-loving Mom, I gave a goat to a family-owned micro farm that could monetize it's milk supply to support their family. That was the best Christmas I can remember; everyone cried at their unique gift, and I was able to encourage my family members in how meaningful their interests are, and how much I admire them each. Incredibly personal + powerful. Today there are several of these Gift Catalogs, with items for every budget: Hope International, Compassion International, Red Cross, and Seva just to name a few.
- Gift of YOU: giving your presence over presents. Sounds cheesy, I know. But we heard a sermon during our Thanksgiving travels that keyed in on offering our hearts & presence to those around us. Not our harried, stressed out, tired selves. Our families want our attention. Our neighbors aren't going to invite themselves over. Our parents really don't need another thing; they need time & attention & relationship. How can you give of your time and presence to those around you instead of grabbing another gift basket and throwing it on the doorstep as you speed through this season?
Little Lady did get eventually find some really thoughtful, some hilarious, gifts for her family. I had to remind myself more than once that this was an exercise in training generosity, not in teaching her my minimalistic, clutter-phobic ways.
This year, I hope you're able to sit back and enjoy the memory making, however it comes. Gift giving, mess making, and all! See you in 2017 with more life-with-baby simplifying tips, tricks and products handmade with love.
Merry Christmas, Mamas.