Many of us can remember writing a long wish list to Santa only to have our Mother remind us that it is better to give than to receive. That thought remains with us as life moves on. It is never more emphasized than during the holiday season. This year, perhaps it is time to give thought to the true meaning of giving. Kahlil Gibran said, “You give of little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” How can you do that in the midst of the holiday rush? Be creative and give thought to the person for whom you are giving a gift.
Some thoughtful possibilities are:
A book of coupons, which could be redeemed throughout the year - A dinner at a favorite restaurant, a candlelight dinner at home, a massage, a night at the movies, washing the car, decorating their home for a holiday, a yummy dessert, housesitting during a vacation and the list continues. A coupon could be tailored to any age person and would be welcomed from a retirement home resident to a new mother, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, or a spouse. These coupons could be written out and placed in a stocking for a clever presentation.
Create a book, with the help of a computer, to show special photos of a trip, grandchildren or family times. Again, the gift would appeal to any age person. Cleverly trim photos from the past year to make into a collage and frame it. This could be the beginning of an annual gift. A live tree such as a Rosemary or a Norfolk Pine could be decorated with small pictures or favorite recipes rolled and tied on to the tree with brightly colored ribbons.
Bake a batch of homemade sugar cookies going all out on the decorations. Stack them on a pottery holiday plate, wrap with cellophane and tie with a big bow. The recipe could be tied into the bow for an added touch.
Put together a cookbook with generations of family recipes for members of your family and friends. Pictures of people, houses and pets could add a fun touch to the cherished collection. Give a gift to enhance an interest – dog, cat, horse, cycling, gardening, bird watching, travelling, etc. Couple the item with a book about the interest. Then, concentrate on a clever way to package the gift. Invite someone to your home for a special dinner as your gift to them. Or take a beautifully prepared dinner to their home.
This type of thoughtfulness could also be a coffee cake for Christmas breakfast or dessert for the family dinner.
A donation can be made to a charity in the name of a person on your gift list. Also, you could buy gifts that support a charity. “If a person gives you his time, he can give no more precious gift.” - Unknown
As you think about gifts for your family and friends, plan a clever, creative presentation for their gift. Ribbons and bows do work miracles. Think outside the predictable box. Wrap the gifts in newspaper, paper grocery bags, paper finger painted by children, fabrics or wallpaper. This is a form of going green, so use your creativity. As the holiday season gears up and the year 2011 winds down, we think seriously about where we’re going. Who has been important to us and how do we live by what we have learned. When my father was in the last stages of Alzheimer’s disease, silence was taking him away. Then, at the end, he told me clearly, “Always remember to share.” He lived by that and I hope to do so as well. Give your gifts from the heart and have a very Happy Holiday!