I call it the start of “Sugar Season”…yep you guessed it the much anticipated holidays! With Thanksgiving nearly a breath away, we can no longer ignore that we must get in action for Christmas. We just lost our beloved Grandma Suzy and boy did she love Christmas. She was remarkable about shopping all year long for the perfect gifts. She delighted in finding one of a kind unique gifts (we were the grateful beneficiaries). I am always constantly reminded that it isn’t the gifts but the spirit of the season that Grandma Suzy embodied so graciously. So to carry on in her spirit, here are my 6 secrets to finding and giving the perfect gift for Christmas.
1. If you have children, get their lists started now! For Santa believers find those special items that can only come from him. Then take the rest of the list and send out to family, friends or anyone who needs gift suggestions for your child. Shop early (the best toys always go first) and find a way to stash the gifts in a hidden spot (change it every year for those children who just can’t resist)! My best go to is Parents.com. Check out the latest list for the best toys of 2013! Another favorite place for gifts is Discovery Toys. They are unique, educational, long lasting and well-priced!
2. Find small creative ways to spread joy. Simple homemade treats for neighbors, sharing a red cup (our coffee mugs are perfect for those hot totties, hot chocolate, coffee or tea), or caroling with your family are all simple ways to spread a little cheer. Involve the kids! What one small action will you take this year? Trust me, you will feel amazing!
3. Give in someone’s name. Gifts can become a burden. It isn’t easy to find the right gift and the then there is the time it takes to get it all wrapped and under the tree. Reduce your gift list by giving in the name of others! There is so much need out there and I’ll bet through your church, business or other community group you can find a great organization or someone in need. One way my family has done this it to jointly agree on a cause and then we all give the money we would spend on each other to one organization in our family’s name. Everyone feels great about it and we all are bit lighter both in spirit and stuff!
4. Limit the quantity of everything. When did we all become brainwashed that more is better? Isn’t more just more? More things to maintain, keep up with, organize, etc. I am stressed just writing about it! If family is super important why not have them over for 3 special days instead of a whole week? It sure would do wonders for your nerves! If gifts are super important to your celebration why not limit the quantity? In past years, we have picked names out of a hat so you only have to buy for one person (if you are geographically apart, nominate one person to draw the names and notify each person in the family who they are buying a gift for). You can even keep the giver a secret so on the day it is a surprise! Children of course are free game for all to purchase presents but adults get the one special gift.
5. Give of yourself. Time is such a huge gift. There are so many wonderful and obvious ways to do this like helping with food banks, soup kitchens, local church activities, etc. How else can you be a blessing to someone? What about organizing a yard clean-up for someone who cannot do it themselves or how about a snow shoveling day in your neighborhood?
6. Engage children in the spirit of giving. Whether it is through a gift or time spent, find a way to get children involved in the activities above. Have kids make cards, bring them along to volunteer or even give the gift of sponsoring a disadvantaged child in their name. After all, it is the simple traditions we start today that they will remember for a lifetime!
I hope you enjoyed my 6 secrets to finding and giving the perfect gift. I hope it give s you some inspiration this year! Cheers!