It’s that time of the year again! I absolutely love the holidays. It gives us an opportunity to spend more time with our loved ones and a change to break out our family traditions. But lately, the biggest tradition that seems to be overshadowing the true meaning of the holidays is gift-giving. Everywhere we go, we are surrounded by advertisements telling us about the Top Holiday Gift Sets for Mom or Best Selling Gifts for Him. When did we shift from simply spending time together to breaking the bank to show our loved ones just how much we love them.
I’ll admit, I do love getting thoughtful gifts for people as it’s one of the ways I express my love and care. But in reality, I think excessive gift-giving can lead to unnecessary expenses and most likely some clutter. Looking back on each holiday that I’ve had, I get warm and fuzzy feelings from recalling the nights my husband and I snuggled up to watch Christmas movies, playing card games with my friends for Friendsmas, walking down the fancy neighborhoods to see their home decorations, and watching some of my friends getting too drunk off of spiked cider. Aside from the Roomba that I got from my mom two years ago, I honestly don’t remember many gifts that I’ve gotten! I’d like to challenge myself this year to cut consumerism and spend my energy into things that’ll create lasting memories. If you’re up for the challenge too, here are some things that you can swap traditional gift-giving with:
Visiting Friends Who Live Far Away
If your best friend lives far away, you can surprise them with your presence! I know that for myself, I would be so thrilled to have a friend visit me during the holidays especially if I haven’t seen them in months or even a year. I’ve made surprise visits in the past to my friends who live 3-4 hours away, and it was surely a trip to remember!
Throw a Friendsmas Party
This is a tradition that I’ve done since my undergrad. Growing up, my family didn’t really have holiday traditions since it’s not something they did when they were in Thailand. Every winter break I had in college I would stay with my friends who couldn’t afford to go home and we made our own traditions. You can’t go wrong with yummy food, wine, cider, and card games! Have everyone bring a dish to share and that can be their community contribution instead of getting a gift!
Taking a Fun Class/Workshop Together
Instead of getting your loved one a kitchen appliance or cookware, why not take a cooking class together? Perhaps you can both learn how to make your favorite holiday dish. No time for a class? Look up a recipe and plan for a cooking/dinner date at home. Or maybe your loved one prefers something active…then maybe do a dance class together. There’s tons of options out there!
I’ve done a total of 4 escape rooms now with my friends and I plan on doing more in the future. It’s a super fun bonding experience for everyone. Most rooms cost no more than $30 a person and there’s a room out there for everyone. Family-friendly or adults-only!
The gift of helping others is truly a gift that keeps on giving! Gather the kids, your friends, your family and head down to your local community charity or food pantry.
Giving A Day Off To Someone Who Needs It
Do you have friends or family that are new parents? Or maybe you know someone who has had a really rough time this year. Or maybe someone who is completely burnt out from their job or school. They would absolutely appreciate you giving them a break to do some self-care. Maybe you can offer to watch their children, or come over to help with household chores.
Honestly nothing would make me happier than doing a Star Wars or a Harry Potter marathon with my loved ones. Get into cozy PJs and snuggle up. Maybe even treat yourselves and order some takeout.
Spending time with our loved ones and sharing memories are worth more than anything you can buy at a store. Don’t fret if you’ve already purchased your gifts this year (I see you, you Black Friday shopper). There’s always room for adding these experiences on top of the gifts you’ve given and there’s nothing wrong with transitioning over time.