The holiday season is marked by store sales, wish lists, and piles of presents. The value that our society places on gift-buying is so high that stress levels are proven to also rise during this time of year. Making sure we buy enough of the right “things” for people seems to be our main priority.
Too often, people are asked directly what gifts they want, and people robotically make purchases based off of a specified list. The thought and consideration behind gift-giving is often abandoned, and the meaningful experience of gift exchange sometimes takes a hit.
The best gifts are oftentimes those that were thoroughly considered and made/picked out personally. Knowing that the other person devoted their time and effort into identifying and securing a special gift for you is a humbling feeling.
Although planning and executing a personalized gift sounds complex and time-consuming, it’s rewarding to know that your gift holds personal meaning and will be appreciated by the receiver.
One of the best ways to begin de-materializing the holidays is by turning standardized gifts into personalized gifts. Even something as simple as picking out a book you think someone will really enjoy is a great gift with a special touch.
Personally, my favorite gift to give and receive is a handwritten letter. As a journalism major and lover of language, this may come as no surprise. Writing out and sharing personalized thoughts is a very unique way to connect with your loved ones.
Step back from the objects and “things” that consume you during the holidays and remember why you celebrate the holiday that you do. Whether you recognize Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or another holiday, keeping the history and meaning of your celebration at heart is very important.
Connecting with your holiday’s core principles can be done in many ways. If your religion is critically important to you, visiting holy texts will connect you to the spiritual value of your holiday. Attending religious services and worshipping will be very meaningful to you.
For those who may be less focused on religion, reading up on the history of your holiday is just as beneficial. Understanding how traditions came about and how they manifest today is a great way to appreciate your holiday as you celebrate it.
While the holidays seem to be best known for spending money and receiving “stuff” and “things”, it’s really a season to spend time with loved ones and be thankful for the happy and healthy relationships in your life.
We buy gifts for those we love and care for, but a gift signifies more than a courteous and common gesture. Exchanging gifts is how to tangibly express our appreciation for relationships. During this time of year, I urge you to do more than express your gratitude to others through material goods.
Whether it be cooking a family meal together or gathering for a holiday movie, spending time with people who mean the most to you is the backbone of every worthwhile celebration.
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Above are just a few of the many ways to combat the materialization of the holiday season. We’re interested to hear how you connect to your holiday and family this time of year, so Submit Your Story and tell us all about your holiday traditions!
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