It is peak holiday season which means we are being inundated with advertisements and triggers to be constant consumers. We are used to the "more is more" mentality and can become addicted to the act of shopping. Often times gift giving can become more stressful than enjoyable which defeats the whole purpose!
There is a way to break from the cycle of stressful, mindless giving by taking a look at who you are gifting to and why. Attempting to be more guided in your gifting will help you feel more centered and aligned with the giving mentality.
I am a huge fan of experiential gifting or giving experiences instead of things. Think cooking a few meals for a family that just had a baby, babysitting so the parents can have a date night, a bike tour in someone's home town or booking a massage. This can also include getting someone a museum pass or tickets for something that they love.
The idea behind experiential gifting is to think about what someone would enjoy, especially when they are not in need of any physical thing. Maybe it is important to give someone a gift they would consider to be a splurge or would not spend the money on themselves. This type of heartfelt and thoughtful gift can live on in memories of the experience itself.
The theory behind mindfully gifting is not to knock giving actual things. Physical gifts can be wonderful to receive as well. As an example, my dad would be lost without his yearly gift of new socks or the calendar that he receives each Christmas. He truly appreciates these gifts and while he could easily purchase them himself, he enjoys receiving gifts that he needs.
If you love buying gifts, you are certainly not alone! When you feel like you have to get a gift and do not know the person well enough to gift an experience, shop locally for unique or handcrafted gifts. We can support local businesses and help our individual communities thrive. Check out listings for holiday markets to discover new local shops or independent artisans. As an alternative, there is always Etsy, an online marketplace of unique and handmade items.
When you are purchasing items to gift, try thinking about who you are giving to. What would make them smile and feel loved? It is also important to think about why you are giving a gift. Is it because you truly want to give that person a token of your affection or appreciation? If it is because you feel you must get something, try an experiential gift.
Need more ideas? Check out these wonderful resources for giving gifts that aren't necessarily things:
Think twice before giving into consumer-driven stress and pressure of finding that "perfect" something. Maybe your presence in someone's life this holiday season will be present enough.