It seems as though the holidays grow more and more commercial each year. Half the season is spent shopping for gift items that are often quickly forgotten once they’ve been opened or later returned to the store they were purchased from. We often hear that it is the thought that counts, but in these rushed times, it often seems that people forget that wisdom, searching only for a gift, not really taking the time to put a lot of thought into it.
This year, instead of falling into the commercial steam of things, consider trying something from the heart. Homemade gifts are always appreciated, as the receiver knows that you put time and love into the item. Of course we all want to give something useful, and when is food not useful? Gifts of baked goods, such as cookies or handmade candies are always appreciated during the holiday season. For something with a little less sugar, preserves and canned goods make a fine choice.
One of my sister’s favorite and most memorable Christmas gifts was the year my grandmother gave her a jar of canned peaches. It was a simple, yet greatly appreciated present, as my sister always loved canned peaches.
Consider limiting gifts to just one for each person. When there are fewer gifts, the appreciation for what a person does get is often greater. It also relieves the problem of people worrying how much to spend, or how much someone spent on them. Perhaps everyone can chip in a bit of the money they would have spent on gifts and give it to the family’s favorite charity. There are many in need, and it is one gift that will not be returned to the store. In fact, you can even take it a step further by donating to a charity in someone’s name as a gift.
Often, a fair portion of a family gathering is spent opening gifts. With fewer gifts to open, that time can be spent with the family. Consider playing games at Christmas instead of opening presents. Long games like Monopoly, Life, and Pictionary are great fun to play with large groups. Watching a movie with the entire family, then playing a trivial pursuit game based on it (i.e Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, etc.) can also make for an exciting family get-together.
If you live in area where it gets cold for Christmas, consider having a sledding or skating party outdoors. If it is during the evening, illuminate the outdoor area with strings of Christmas lights. Build a bonfire to roast marshmallows and make s’mores, and provide a table with thermoses full of nice, hot chocolate.
In my family we always spend all of Christmas Day watching a movie series. We started the tradition the year we got the original Star Wars trilogy and we had so much fun just eating chocolate and watching movies that we’ve been doing it every year since. It’s relaxing, inexpensive, and great family time.
What alternatives to gifts does your family incorporate into their holiday celebrations?
Copyright © Amber Reifsteck ~ The Woodland Elf