Starbucks has a new tagline on their holiday cups: Stories are gifts…..share. What a great reminder that sometimes the most meaningful gifts don’t cost money. As we near the season of gift giving, I hope that this sentiment is taken to heart.
What if we all gave the gift of a story this year?
I heard that stores are opening not just at 5am on Black Friday, but on Thanksgiving Day itself. One more step toward the commercialization of what is meant to be a time of family, friendship, and for many, faith.
When people talk to me about the holidays, they often talk about the season with a sense of financial dread, or disappointment in themselves that they didn’t set aside a holiday fund…again, or about the credit card bill they know will be coming in January. They talk about not wanting to disappoint their children, about the expectations placed on them in their workplace, or about “this is how my family has always done it.”
If you hear yourself in any of the above, make a commitment to do it differently this year. Completely different, or just a little different. Here are some ideas:
- Give the gift of a story: the day your child was born; a fun experience with a good friend; how a coworker has inspired you.
- Give the gift of an experience, rather than a thing: a walk along the river; a Sunday morning brunch; a drive to the mountains.
- Give the gift of memories: old family pictures; old family movies; old family recipes. (One of my most treasured gifts is a recipe book from my mother of favorite recipes and notes with each one about which family friend first introduced us to the recipe.)
- Get your family to draw names. Or better yet, my unique neighbors instituted a family tradition of CrapMas. They each scour their homes for items that they no longer use, but know that someone else might find of value, and then do a sort of live auction based on who declares they need it or want it the most. They have great, great fun with it.
- Give the gift of service: spend the holiday serving others at a homeless shelter.
- Give the gift of self-esteem. I asked some important people in my daughter’s life to share a word or a sentence about how people see her, and then I compiled them in a book. $8 at ritz.com and….priceless.
What ideas do you have?