Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Simple Suggestion #243... Give gifts of the heart

Every year when Black Friday sales roll around, I try to remind people that we need to appreciate what we have without cramming more stuff into our lives. If you follow these moodlings you'll know all about "Buy Nothing Day", which is anti-consumerism's response to the big sales frenzies developed by marketers to kick off the Christmas shopping season the day after American Thanksgiving.

By all means, boycott shopping on Buy Nothing Day. But I'd also invite us to be mindful of our shopping habits the other 364 days per year, and consider where all our stuff will end up when we're gone. I'd also like to share 10 somewhat-tongue-in-cheek rules of Christmas gift giving that we all need to grow out of here on our limited planet:

And there are probably more...

The thing is, it's just too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we have to buy something for everyone on our Christmas list -- and even for others who are not. But not all gifts need to be store bought. Here's a list of alternative gifts, what I would call gifts of the heart:

1. The gift of presence -- just being with someone.
2. The gift of a shared experience -- like going for a walk, a game of cards, star gazing, maybe a book we've enjoyed.
3. The gift of a random act of kindness -- clearing a neighbour's walk, some fresh baking, sweeping the snow off a car...
4. The gift of a heartfelt letter.
5. The gift of a funny story.
6. The gift of a long forgotten memory or photograph.
7. The gift of music.
8. The gift of something treasured being handed on to someone else to love.
9. The gift of an actual voice-to voice phone call.
10. The gift of a coffee/tea/wine/other beverage date, or maybe lunch.
11. The gift of a home cooked meal...

And perhaps you've thought of a dozen others as I've been naming these.The thing is, most of the big ticket gifts sold at Black Friday sales require space, maintenance, cleaning, and eventually, disposal. But the gifts I've named above leave a warm place in our hearts and memories without cluttering our lives. Every thing we give as a gift or own ourselves will have to go somewhere when we are gone, but the gifts of the heart always go with us...

Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Click here.
Or click here for more simple Christmas ideas.

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