And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?”
“It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
“It came without packages, boxes or bags!”
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
“Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
Truer words have never been spoken about the holiday season and yet every year, we lose sight of what’s important for all the “material” things the holidays promise. So, while I’ve been busy giving you ideas on gifts for everyone from Dad to Tweens to Philanthropists and Fashionistas, I think it’s equally important to remember that while the gifts are fun we can’t lose sight of what really matters this time of year. Here are a few suggestions to keep your Christmas balanced and focused on your family:
Make time your gift.
• Bake cookies, make candy, make homemade cards, and make paper snowflakes.
• Designate the four Fridays (or whatever day works best for you) leading up to Christmas a movie night at home. Snuggle under blankets, watch Christmas movies, eat popcorn.
• Look through photographs of Christmas past with your children, bet you talk more about the memories than what was received under the tree.
• Elf your neighbours –take home baked goodies and a homemade CD of your favorite holiday tunes, place in a plain bag you decorate yourself with a note. Leave it on their front step, ring the bell and RUN! You can’t get caught when you elf someone. Delight in watching your neighbours get into the spirit of the season!
• Read Christmas stories. Sing carols.
• Join in the 25 Days of Christmas and try to keep the store-bought items to a minimum.
Don’t keep up with the Jones’
• Shop online. If you are an impulse buyer, avoid the stores and the frenzy it can create. Sit down at your computer, list in hand and buy only what you need.
• Think before you purchase. Do your children really need that thing-a-ma-jig? Where will it end up in a month? If it’s simply filler leave it behind.
• Buy one less gift this year for everyone. Bet nobody notices.
• Admit it, we all buy gifts out of obligation. Who do you buy for that you really don’t need to? Let them know in advance, bet they’re relieved to not have to buy for you either.
• Get your shopping done early, then stay out of the stores. Getting home stressed out and annoyed takes the joy out of giving.
• Visit local crafters markets and bake sales for fun gifts that aren’t mass- produced and are made from the heart.
• Give experiences that mean you get to spend more time with your family. A movie night out, a ski day, bowling, or a cooking class are just a few examples.
• Write you children, husband, and/or parents a letter and stuff it in their stocking. Tell them why you love them so and reminisce about the past year.
• Talk to your friends about gifts for their kids. Do they really want more toys in their house? Start a Christmas ornament exchange, so that when the kids grow up they have a collection of ornaments to start their own tree with.
Giving. What it’s really all about.
• Ask your children to replace one thing on their list to Santa, with a gift for a child in need. Have Santa leave a special thank you under the tree for them.
• Along with the toy catalogues strewn all over the house, include catalogues from Unicef, World Vision, Plan Canada or Free the Children. Better yet, “accidently” misplace the toy catalogues. ☺
• PVR your children’s television and skip the commercials to keep the “give-me’s” at bay.
• Talk to your kids about consumerism. Set an example. Do you really need that that thing-a-ma-jig?
• Find a place to give your time. Call your local shelters, missions, schools, food banks. Do they need help wrapping presents, serving meals, sorting food? Try to include your children.