I like my money right where I can see it: hanging in my closet. -- Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

18 December 2011

It's the Thought that Counts-Really!!

 I know! I know! The clock is ticking...you cannot find a parking space...every store is out of wrapping paper and scotch tape...everything looks picked over and depressing...the check out line is out in the snowbanks...you cannot find the size you want... and you need an Advil! STOP...Close your eyes, and BREATHE! Now slowly open them and take a hard look at what you have in your hand and ask yourself 3 questions..."Do I like this?" " Would I want to receive this?" "Does this say Thank you...I Care...Happy Holidays, or does it just say I need to get this done"????...take a sec and give it some thought!

My philosophy about Gift Giving has always been ..."Think Before You Wrap!" It is easy in the Holiday crazies, especially as THE day gets closer, to "just do it", to buy ANYTHING to be done. I really do believe that it is better to give nothing, or to just send a card, than to give a mindless or useless gift that will end up in the bottom of a drawer or worse a trash bag...how wasteful and really how insulting. How do you feel when you open a thoughtless gift?

Now more than ever when gift giving means pulling out that over used piece of plastic we all need to STOP, slow down and THINK!!

Now I can fill a shopping bag better than anyone,and I definitely get caught up in the "just one more gift" crazies or the "one for him, three for me" routine, but sometimes the care gets lost at the bottom of the bag.

We live in an overly consumed consumer age...and clearly it has taken its toll, and we all are paying the price. I have found myself of late popping in and out of stores thinking "why is all this stuff here"...so much out there that is just "stuff". Where is the Wonderful? Where is the Beautiful? Where is the Special...?? If I see one more box of peppermint bark...well let's hope I don't!

Now,I am NOT saying Don't Shop... My Gosh! I would be put to bed if that ever happened! What I am saying is- Shop Smart, Shop Carefully, Shop with your Heart and your Head. Put some thought into it! Care about the money you are spending, and care about the gift you are giving! Here are some ideas for thoughtful giving this year...

1. Again, THINK! Is it something that fits the recipient or is it just a box to wrap and give and be done with it?

2. Be creative in your shopping and your giving. What would that person like that they would not necessarily go out and buy...that is always a good path to go down. You do not have to spend a lot to show you have thought about them!

-Fill a bag with their favorite childhood treat-Mallomars,Cracker Jack,Twizzlers...
-Give a subscription to a great magazine-there are deals as low as $5 a year!
-Wrap up a few spring bulbs to be forced this winter or some seed packets
-Tie a bow on a bag of gourmet popcorn and two movie tickets
-Give a Special Day-plan a visit to a museum,the zoo, lunch, a picnic...
-Scoop up last minute/bargain tickets to a show,the ballet or a concert
-Give a Day at the Game, buy tickets to your team's minor league club for the upcoming season.
-Wrap up a Download certificate for their iPod

3. If spending is just not a good idea this year you can still put some thought into a Gift...

-Create a picture album filled with pictures from a special trip,event,occasion
-Print out Gift Certificates offering your services babysitting or dog sitting
-Create Special Day certificates telling them they can do whatever they wish on one special day. You can drive them around, run errands for them, do the laundry, walk the dog...
-Give a favorite book that you treasure off your shelf and write a note telling them why you love it.
-Knit them a quick one skein scarf
-Bake their favorite cookie
-Send them A Thank You note letting them know how important they are in your life-put a ribbon on it!

4. Finally, and most especially, if you can't think of anything or find anything...then Give!!! This is a very tough year for non profit organizations and their resources are strained to the breaking point as the need for their services is at an all time high...GIVE!! when you GIVE! Visit Pearls of Grace for wonderful ideas and organizations.  You will truly be giving a gift that shows you care! Visit Redefine Christmas and Changing the Present and Wrap Up the Holidays in a better way!