Last year, I sat in a pile of torn wrapping paper and unopened gifts. I felt overwhelmed. Now that Christmas was over, it seemed like I had more things to do. There were returns, Christmas thank you cards, and donating more toys to replaced the ones my kids had just received.
I wanted something different for the following year and immediately texted family. Next year, let’s skip the gifts. Let’s do a family trip instead.
We ended up doing Secret Santa this year. But I vowed for the gifts I did get, I wanted to choose them mindfully.
What if this year you found a gift that could make the receiver feel something, be inspired, feel nostalgic and maybe even make a difference? If this sounds like something you’d like to do, here are a few Christmas list items that have made a difference to me. *By the way, I just really like these things. I’m not getting paid to talk about it.
- Homesick Candles. I didn’t grow up in California, but the gorgeous landscape, fresh cuisine and open space made me wish I did. That’s why while I’m living in Hawaii I’m California dreaming and grateful for the homesick CaliforniaNorCal candle. It reminds me of fresh pines and pears. And it’s on sale now.
- A meaningful book. There are fun books and there are life changing books. I found Gregg Levoy’s Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life in a bookstore and it inspired me to quit a dead-end job and pursue my dream as a writer. Thomas Moore’s Care of the Soul found me at a leave a book, take a book bookshelf near Point Reyes, California and changed the way I saw everything in my life. While I was struggling as a stay at home mom, Glennon Doyle Melton’s book Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life made me feel less alone. Books are like that. Getting a book that resonates with your life experience is like a good friend and one of the best kind of gifts to get and give.
- A trip. Instead of gifts this year, I opted for a family trip. We haven’t taken it yet so I’m not sure how it will be, but I do know this. Memories are worth their weight in gold. Time will pass. Even the prettiest jewelry and nicest sweaters will lose its luster. But memories with those you love will be cherished and talked about forever.
- A class. A yoga class, an online communication course, or a subscription based group membership can give your loved one a chance to learn something new that can change their life.
- A link to their past. There are so many DNA kits that affordably give you the option to dive into your family history. This is a great way to link your history, discover your genetic information and connect with old and new family members. It’s a conversation starter and a gift that will forever remain in your family.
- Treasure a relationship. Uncommon Goods sells a Mother & Daughter Letter Book Set and one for grandparents and grandchildren too. I love this idea of having something parents share with their grandchildren that can be treasured forever. But you don’t have to purchase a kit. You can create your own box with old photos and letters to let someone know how much they mean to you.
- A gift that gives back. Since my son was born, I’ve been purchasing plush animals from World Wildlife Fund since the money goes to saving endangered species and environments. Last year, I also bought a box from Little Loving Hands, which I discovered through Momastery’s newsletter. I loved that the activity brought my son and I together working on a craft project that would be mailed to a child or family in need. This year, we’re working on a treat bag for a dog at a shelter. For $28, it’s well-worth it and I think it would make a great gift for a family.
- A meaningful Christmas ornament. My mom calls it the ugly Charlie Brown Christmas tree. But I love our tiny tree because it’s full of meaningful ornaments made by my son and also given to us by friends from their wedding, honeymoon travels and Christmas parties. There is a memory attached to each one.
And now for a free gift. Uncommon Goods offers free downloadable and printable gift tags, and even fortune cookies with sayings you can customize.