It seems like only yesterday when those holiday decorations were boxed up and, with a veiled sense of relief, put away for another year. Normalcy returned again and the daily grind became the new normal.
Almost without realizing it, the weeks and months have slipped away and we are, once again, faced with the fun, excitement, dread and anticipation of the new holiday season. Tradition notwithstanding, most of us could benefit from a fresh look at holiday gift giving and time sharing. Why not consider adding a little spark to this season’s festivities?
1. Organize a wine and cheese party for family, friends, co-workers of a combination thereof
This event can be as simple as a couple bottles of assorted wines with interesting and uncommon cheeses from your local grocer to sample while sitting around a roaring fireplace. If you’re more adventurous, you can jump in with both feet and research some exotic cheeses to pair with imported wines. This is a party idea that can be as simple or as elaborate as your imagination and budget permit.
2. Gift giving can be expensive and frustrating for almost everyone
Money is tight. Great gift ideas can be hard to come by. And, let’s face it, we live in a world of instant gratification. Most of us will have already purchased anything we really want to have for ourselves. Instead of mulling over that endless list of people who expect, deserve or are entitled to a gift this season, why not be the first one to suggest a secret Santa format this year? Throw everyone’s name in a hat and let each person choose one name for a gift purchase. This frees everyone up to devote their attention to a single, well-considered purchase.
3. True spirit of the holiday
Even more in keeping with the true spirit of the holiday season you could consider skipping the gift exchange altogether. Instead, donate the purchase price you would have spent on a gift to a charitable organization in the name of the gift recipient. This allows you to feel good about giving, allows your recipient to feel good about receiving and also provides a gift where it could really have an impact.
4. Remembering the people
The holiday season is about remembering and acknowledging the people who have meant the most in our lives. Take every opportunity to gather with friends and family, either in small groups or at large gatherings. Take at least one day to share in an activity that benefits your community, remembering that your overall community is your “family” as well. If you take the time to acknowledge the people in your life you are truly participating in the spirit of holiday giving.
5. Consider giving the most precious gift of all this holiday season
Give the gift of time. Much like the ground we walk on, time is irreplaceable and finite. You have what you have and no more. When you give an hour or a day or a week of that valuable commodity you are telling your recipient that they matter enough to you that you are willing to sacrifice something you can never recover.
This year, as the holiday season approaches once again, why not take time to look beyond the purchased gift and the expense of holiday participation and go a little deeper? Look instead to the heart and soul of the season. Share your time and ideas, whether it’s over a glass of chardonnay and a taste of Brie or across the miles on a Skype conversation. Recognize and acknowledge those who share your world each day. Above all, remember to appreciate the opportunity afforded each and every holiday season to take a moment to be thankful.