Last Christmas, after the grandchildren had already opened a heap of gifts, the littlest one said “no more presents!” We all laughed of course and the kids went off to play before returning to open more things later.
It made me think about how the giving and receiving of Christmas presents has become a bit more challenging over the years. It’s become harder and harder to find the perfect gift for friends and family who are often able to buy anything they want for themselves. And if you ask what they would like and are given detailed specs for an item, you don’t have to put any personal thought into it and there is no surprise for the recipient. You may resort to Gift certificates or a cheque, but that can feel impersonal and monetary – not very satisfying or heart-warming. Sure it might have been easier back in the day with PJs and toboggans, homemade scarves and cookies, but I’m not going to do the “good ol’ days” song. Things are different, the world is a better place in so many ways and that’s what matters! We can keep up by being innovative and re-thinking what constitutes a gift. Some possibilities to consider:
- A coupon to go out together to a favourite restaurant, possibly combined with a gallery visit or window shopping.
- An invitation to go to a special event together – like a play or concert or sports event. For example, taking a granddaughter to a special musical show for her birthday has become a special tradition.
- An offer to provide a service that you are good at – like preparing their favourite meal and serving it up to a group of their friends, or making home repairs or doing alterations on clothes, or taking the children so their parents get a weekend to themselves.
What’s important is making time for one another. Take it from the children, who are so happy whenever we give them our undivided attention. For Christmas, birthdays or whatever the occasion, a gift of ourselves may be the best gift of all!