Simplify with These Gifts for Everyone on Your List
‘Tis the season – of endless shopping lines and driving through icy sludge, traffic and wandering around the aisles wondering what to buy. Though many get caught up in the buzz of holidays, others end up feeling frustrated, tired, and, well, pretty cranky. The pressure, economic and time, can make holidays a highly stressful time of year.
As we grow older, our wish lists tend to get a lot smaller. So, to help you save some holiday stress and a lot of money, I thought I’d write down some ideas that might work for most anybody in your family, your workplace, your kids’ teachers, to give you downtime to really enjoy the people in your life instead of the list of to-dos.
Give tradition. Start a family/friend recipe book, adding a recipe each year. Write down your grandmother’s, your aunt’s, your father’s favorite recipe, include a photograph, and make it with your kids, your friends, with the people you most love. Each year add another recipe, another photo, and another afternoon of cooking. For teachers, reuse some jelly jars to put your favorite hot chocolate mix in it. Roll up the recipe and decorate with ribbon! What a great way to share your family stories sand pass on important flavors, generation-to-generation.
Give time. Take an afternoon off and go to the park, a movie matinee, the museum, or library. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and enjoy some local historic sites. Attend fun storytelling events. Go skating at Bryant Park. Take part in MoMa’s family time and free films. Every city and town have something fun to see and explore! Be tourists at home. Make holidays about the time you spend with one another instead of the time you spend standing in line.
Give activity. Instead of a gift you open once that ends up getting put on the shelf or in the back of a closet, give something that lasts all year (or at least a few months). Give membership to a gym, dance classes, or tickets to a basketball game. Buy a subscription pack to the NYC public library and enjoy events once/month or more. Get your library card and sign up for some of the free classes and activities they offer. By developing a movement mindset in kids, from an early age, they learn to value activity as a gift and not just another thing to do after school. Active kids = active adults.
Give kindness. The holidays can be an incredibly lonely time for many. Volunteering at the local food bank, doing a book drive for a low-income school library, and finding ways to give back to the community can make the difference between someone feeling despair or hope during the holidays. Teaching children the value of giving back has no price. Likewise, for those spending the holidays alone, tapping into our humanity and generosity is a great way to channel holiday anxiety.
Give memories. Presents are often forgotten, but a trip to the ocean, climbing a mountain, going on a wine walk, soaring in a hot air balloon ride, meeting a favorite author … these are moments that will last a lifetime. Instead of buying gifts for the family, make a family gift (a weekend trip to the ocean). This goes back to spending time with one another instead of time standing in line to buy something for one another.
Instead of filling our lives with stuff, fill them with memories, good habits, family traditions and flavors. Perhaps the best stuff we can have are the photos and diaries we keep, the recipes we share, the time we spend.
Enjoy the holiday madness planning great moments to share.