I am sure we have all heard of or read O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi at some time in our lives. It is the story of a young couple who sacrifice to give to each other. I think a lot of families relate more and more to this story. The opulence we Americans used to enjoy is fading and many of us are making hard decisions around the holidays. But this time of sacrifice can also be a time to truly give. I am sure any parent can relate to their favorite present from their child not being a lavish expensive store bought item. But that it was a work of love covered in colored macaroni noodles and glitter. One of the best gifts I received last year was homemade bread from my niece who is an aspiring baker. She made a basket specific for each family member and I was touched that she gave me more fruit and homemade apple butter instead of two loaves of bread because of my desire to eat less gluten. It was her caring thought that meant more to me than any other present that year.
So how are you giving this year?
Did you spend all of your holiday dollars on Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Or did you perhaps join in the second annual American Express sponsored Small Business Saturday and patronize your locally owned stores? Why not grab a gift card from your favorite local pancake house, greasy spoon, or special occasion restaurant? Or could “I love you” be said through a haircut, oil change, lawn mowing, snow removal, house cleaning, or dog walking gift certificate?
Or are you showing your love by making a donation to a worthy cause in the name of someone you care about?
How about opting out spending cash this year by making gifts instead of buying them? If you can’t make them yourself, how about attending a craft fair and supporting local artisans?
Does giving mean time instead of money this year? Time to visit an ill relative, helping out at a shelter, or just being together with your family and friends. Are you thinking of sharing experiences instead of giving things? Remember when putting up the tree was not a nagging to-do, but a family experience? Could decorating for the holidays be a time to share, laugh, and gather instead of a time to stress and max our credit cards?
How are you going to rethink giving this year?