As with each passing year, the holiday cheer starts creeping around earlier and earlier. This year, I heard Christmas carols long before I saw Halloween decorations on store shelves. Now that is spooky! I have nothing against the holidays (known by whichever name you favor), not at all. I love the holidays, I create excuses to over-eat, over-sleep, and buy the $14 dollar wines instead of the $9 wines. Mostly, however, I love to give gifts to my family and try to surprise them with just how thoughtful I am when I gift them with the gift they asked for.
As we all know deep down, a gift wrapped in paper is not the meaning of the holidays.
Statistics Canada recorded $19,260,811.00 in retail purchases made in December 2018. If my math is correct, and it probably isn't, that's around $3.5M more than the monthly average ($15.5M) Canadians spent in retailers in the months preceding December. Maybe that isn't a whole lot in the grand scheme of the Holidays, but it does make one wonder: where is my money better off, or, how can I enjoy my time and money more?
Below I have listed the only three items on my Holiday Shopping List this year, because I believe these gifts will bring joy to the giver and the receiver, and will be money well spent.
Here is my shopping list for December 2019:
I will trade as much of my time (work) as possible to gain time being with the family I love. I will treasure and remember this time because my memories will outlast all physical gifts.
Food is important to me. My mincemeat is already sitting in the fridge developing a Jamie Oliver approved flavor that will bring me more joy in sharing with my family than I would find in scouring the mall for just one more thing to put under the tree. You know, so it's even.
I trade time every week for the experience of working with and assisting people in my community in one small way. During the holidays, it is easy for some to begin to feel forgotten. How could you send some love to your neighbor or community? Could you drop off at cheque at the Parkland Food Bank? Spend a few hours gifting your time as a volunteer in Spruce Grove or Stony Plain?
“In this final second of your life, I am going to tell you what I saw: I found the house clean, the table laid, the fields plowed, the flowers smiling. I found each thing in its proper place, precisely as it should be. You understood that small things are responsible for great changes."
Gifts do bring joy, and they can hold meaning. A gift can lift you up and help you feel love when the intention is true. So, find your own meaning in giving and receiving, decide what is important to you and your family.
I encourage you to start this conversation. Whether it is just in your own mind or with your family, I invite you to add my shopping list to the top of your shopping list this year. After it is all said and done, let me know how your holidays were transformed after giving and receiving the gift of love.