Christmas is just around the corner, and most of us are in shock that it is here already. As I have said many times before, time seems to have sped up to warp speed and is leaving us all wondering how on earth the holidays came so fast.
This time of the year can be stressful in the best of times, but during our current economic situation, stress levels are higher than I can remember. Whether it is about buying gifts, going to holiday party's, traveling, being with family, or wondering how you can pay for it all, stress can put a damper on your holiday cheer.
We are coming out of several decades of over consuming, over spending, and too much commercialism during our holiday season. Giving gifts has become stressful for most of us, when it should be a pleasure and give us joy. I know many people who hate the holidays because they feel obligated to buy for the fifty or more people on their gift list. They find no joy in the process, but feel it necessary to send off a gift to nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, friends and their children, and so on and so on.
We all run around like crazy people buying for this person and that person. The gifts we buy may or may not be appreciated, just like the gifts we receive. I have received many gifts in the past that ended up in a drawer or closet where they were never used and many times forgotten. I am sure that I have given gifts that others felt the same about. It seems rather silly when you think about it, buying gifts for the sake of buying gifts.
Of course there are those in our lives that we buy for where we put extra care and thought into what we are giving, but even those gifts can stress you out, particularly if you do not have the money to shop. When we do not have the finances to support our holiday shopping, we feel bad and may choose to go into debt so that we can give those gifts that others really don't need and sometimes don't want. That really seems unnecessary.
I think it would be lovely to go back to a time where our gifts came from things we made, like holiday baked goods, or something we made ourselves like art or a craft of some sort. I love when I receive gifts that came from someones creative self. I also like to share a dinner with a friend and call that our Christmas gift. That way we get to spend time with each other and enjoy a great meal.
Another way to give at Christmas, is to give of your time. If you have no money for gift buying, offer to do a service for someone, like give them a head and neck massage, or wash their car, or even make them lunch. Make coupons to give as their claim check for your service. That way you can put it in a card for their gift. These things are much more personal, and I am sure much more appreciated by the person who receives it.
Taking someone on a day of fun is a good idea too. For instance you could pack a picnic lunch and take a friend on a hike, enjoy your lunch together and spend quality time. I would love that as a Christmas gift. Or maybe offer to babysit for a friends child for an afternoon, or take someone to the movies, although that will cost a bit.
There are many ways to give during the holidays without stressing yourself out with spending money and buying things. Get back to the old fashioned ways of giving. It is less stressful, and easier on your bank account. We all need a little less commercialism in our lives, even though it lessons the profits of the retail owners. Until this economy changes for the better, it is best to find ways that are less stressful, especially during the holidays.
Make your holiday gift giving special by giving something of yourself. You will make your friends and family very happy!