by Cary Farrell
October 05, 2018
The biggest shopping day of the year has come and gone. And whether you went Black Friday shopping or Cyber Monday shopping, you are most likely feeling the stress of the Christmas countdown. You have made your list and you are checking it twice. As the list gets longer the stress gets greater. You want to buy the perfect gift… or any gift as long as you have something to wrap to say you remembered those on your list.
As a professional organizer (and after many years of my own Christmas buying stress), I now look at gift giving in a totally different way. I hear the guilt from clients, young and old, as they show me gifts that they have received from family and friends that are not blessing them.
What is the purpose of a gift? A gift is meant to bless, not burden, the recipients. Let them have the freedom to keep the gifts and enjoy them or pass them on to bless someone else if/when they're not blessing them. Reassess your gift list this year and reduce your shopping stress and the recipient's guilt. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Top 9 Gifts for Christmas
The Gift of Time
Have you ever bought your child a game or a craft then never found the time to enjoy it together? Re-wrap the gift with a coupon book of dates to enjoy the game or craft together. Grandparents would much prefer to have some of your time. They don’t need more items to consider when they start downsizing. Does your spouse work hard for the family? Could you give them the gift of your time to allow them to pursue something they would like to do while you take over their responsibilities occasionally?
The Gift of Talent or Skill
Do you have a talent or skill that you can use to bless others? My baby sister is a photographer and she gives the gift of pictures. She captures some of our most precious moments to enjoy again and again. Be careful with this gift because sometimes your talent or skill might not be a blessing to someone else. You may make beautiful pottery but not everyone likes pottery. Be sensitive to give what blesses, not just what is easy.
The Gift of Service
I have often given the gift of organizing to a friend or family member to help them. I am actually going next week to give “me” as a gift to my two youngest sisters. Can you offer to wash someone’s car, clean their house, tackle a project that requires more than one person, babysit, etc.? Know your recipient and offer a gift of service that would truly bless them.
The Gift of an Experience
Gifts of experiences are often the gifts that keep on giving. Give a trip, a concert, a sporting event, an adventure, an opportunity to drive a race car, a cooking class, a museum or zoo membership, lessons for something they want to learn, movie tickets, bowling, skiing… Think about what would make the recipient happy.
The Gift of Memories
Memory gifts can be in the form of a framed picture, photo album, scrapbook, shadow box, or even a quilt made from old camp or sports t-shirts.
The Gift of Connection
Everyone wants to feel connected to their loved ones. Consider giving a coupon book with dates of activities that they would enjoy where you spend time connecting, heart to heart. Or how about dates for ice cream, walks in the park, playing games, or whatever the person enjoys that will give you time to connect.
The Gift of Words
Every year of my married life I have written a Christmas letter documenting the highlights of our family’s year. Last year I wrote an individual letter to each family member that included pictures as a way for them to look back over their year. I also included blessings and challenges to them. If you are gifted with words, then use that gift to bless your family. We made a list of 50 things we were thankful for when my husband turned 50 and framed it for his office. I have also used my children’s names in an acrostic to say what I am thankful for about them.
The Gift of Honor
You can donate to any number of ministries or non-profits in the name of someone else. Bless someone who does not need anything. Give to a needy person or charity in honor of someone on your list then send them a note telling them what you gave and why you chose this cause to give to in their honor. Know your recipient and try to choose a cause that means something to them.
The Gift of Need
If you must give a physical, wrapped gift because it is important to you, then be sure you ask for ideas of items that the recipient needs or wants. After Christmas sale items, random whatchamacallits, gift cards for people who hate to shop, another bottle of perfume or lotion all turn into clutter. Be very selective and buy for a true need or want.
I hope these 9 gift ideas inspire you and help you see gift giving in a new way. Give with unique thought and purpose to those you love. They will remember your gift and feel blessed by your thoughtfulness. You will be confident that you blessed and not burdened them and gave them a gift from your heart. I need to get busy working on the family letters…