Friday, November 15, 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Joy of Giving

Here I sit, seven days after Halloween and the stores are already selling Christmas decorations (and already on sale?) and commercials on TV are already talking about holiday shopping, not to mention Black Friday. I hear people talk all the time about enough being enough and yet they all still rush out to shop, filling the stores and spending more money than they have to spend. Times are tough out there, but you wouldn't know it in the 5 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So I am wondering, is this what it is really all about? Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas and Hanukkah and all that goes along with it. My tree will probably go up before Thanksgiving. I love giving and getting gifts, a lot. But I still believe it has to mean more.

A couple years ago, I remember thinking that we had probably done things all wrong. Our living room was filled to the brim with gifts for our four boys. It was gorgeous and nauseating all at once. It probably took 30 minutes of insanity for them to open everything and retire to the playroom to play one of their new video games. And I was left with somewhat of an empty feeling. We have slowly dialed it back, having less to spend and realizing it was better to buy them each a couple things they really wanted, would play with and remember than buying things for the sake of filling up the living room or worrying that everyone got the same amount of gifts (no one even pays attention to anyone else long enough to know or count).

I have started to make gifts for my friends and family. I have found that these gifts mean more, feel much better giving, cost less and are usually tailored better to each person. One year I made monogrammed tote bags, another brown sugar scrub. It allows me to get creative as well as give quality, healthier gifts to people I love. And with Pinterest leading the way, you can find almost anything to make. It does require a bit more planning, but I can't wait to get started!

Gift ideas include lotions, scrubs, candles, bags, scarves, and so much more for the ladies in my life. For the kids there are blocks, dolls, sensory boards, teepees, to name a few. The teenagers are a bit tougher, as they told me money was good. Even there I found some creative ways to wrap and give money gifts to make it fun and last more than 1 minute on Christmas morning.

I just have no desire to go shopping this season (and that is something I thought I would never say). Everything out there is overpriced, impersonal and usually poor quality. This year I will take spend my hours cozy on my couch, browsing Pinterest and making yummy gifts for the people I love. And there is nothing wrong with recycling or upcycling items. My younger son loves it when I give him gifts that used to be his older brothers' because he thinks they are really cool and the fact that he know has the stuff they used to play with is very exciting. Sometimes, gifts passed down mean even more.

I am excited to have more time this holiday season to enjoy my cheerfully decorated home, with a warm fire with friends and family. And I am very excited to get to work making wonder gifts for all the wonderful people in my life.

Happy Holidays!