Its 9pm on a Wednesday, mid holiday season and you are in the fast, fun, friendly world of Target staring into the abyss of acrylic sweaters, plastic jewelry, and faux leather watches dreaming of a better way.
It's great to gift that watch your boyfriend’s been eyeing for the past couple months, or the killer snowshoes your mom wants for her next winter challenge and beyond, but what about all the other gifts in-between? There’s the Secret Santa gift exchange at work, the stocking stuffers for your nieces and nephews, the neighbor who’s watched your dog for the past year when you're out of town. It’s easy to spend a small fortune on items that are unnecessary, don’t last, and don’t give back.
The RBS four step Guide to Simplify Holiday Giving for 2019
First, commit to giving gifts that bring joy and capture a spirit of giving; say goodbye to extra pressure and dollar store lines. Instead, make a list of people you naturally want to gift to. There are always opportunities at this time of year to join in office Secret Santas, holiday cookie exchanges, and various white or gold elephant exchanges. Determine which actually bring joy and capture a spirit of giving, and say no to the rest.
Second, do something different; gift giving is the perfect time to be creative and start a new tradition! Secret Santas and Stockings are an opportunity for extra sugar and trinkets. If traditions like Secret Santa are important to you gift parts of a whole such as something that can be assembled like a potted plant. Gift the pot, soil, plant food, plan in separate stages. Or if you want to do stockings for the family, gift each person parts of something that can be used all together for a family experience like a board game or movie passes.
Third, create community; gift things that bring people together and create memories. Gift experiences or create a scavenger hunt for family members to lead them to a gift everyone will enjoy. This year as my family changes and we feel the distance of being apart often during the year, my family is skipping gifts all together, opting instead for time spent at a cabin where fun winter activities and quality time together abound.
Fourth, ensure a win-win-win situation; gift items that feel good for the person giving, the person receiving, and the person producing. Whenever you can, shop local, gift secondhand items, and gift sustainably. Here are three excellent gift guides that ensure everyone wins:
Finally, the giving season is all about what you decide to make it about. It’s easy for us to get caught up in the attitude that giving is a single instance that happens at holidays or birthdays or when someone has done something for us. In reality, we know that giving is a value, it’s a way of life that encompasses how we relate not only to the people around us, but to the environment as well. How we give to others and the environment makes an impression on them and creates ripples beyond the moment.
How do you gift thoughtfully? Share your ideas in the comments and let's continue the dialogue of how we can make waves in our giving this year.