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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Gift-Giving with a Difference

For many people, whether they care to admit it or not, Christmas is about presents. Far-sighted folks will start stockpiling gifts from summer sales, whilst the ‘last minute dot coms’ will be harrying around (last minute) to find the right offering.
Presents are a good thing, satisfying to give and nice to receive. Yet as you go about your shopping spree this year, you should ask the question, just how much time and energy do you want to expend finding the right thing for the right person and creating endless lists for Santa?
We often bemoan that Christmas has lost its real meaning: in fact it cannot get more commercialized than it is already in most places of the world. Shops begin to display their Christmas wares at least three months before the event. Somehow, Christmas gift-giving has also lost its original purpose as a symbol of loving and caring; instead it has become a stress-inducing exercise! We give out of obligation rather than appreciation, or in order to fulfill the insatiable expectations of the kids who, under the influence of media and peer pressure only want the latest and most expensive gadgets or designer labels. The children may be happy for a few weeks (or days, or hours!) but the damage to the bank balance may last much longer.
This year make a difference in your gift giving. Buy thoughtful, uplifting and practical gifts, not just those that stand idly in the corner all year and collect dust. Practical can mean anything that helps improve, mind, body or spirit.
Be clear and focused as you go on your shopping blitz. The Three Kings brought with them Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh – your budget may not be in the same league, yet you can bring others much joy with a more modest but meaningful offering.
Create a theme for your gift-giving. Make your gifts ones that will last longer than a week, and can benefit your loved ones for a lifetime. Make them soul uplifting, nourishing and rewarding.
Giving a blanket may be snug and cozy, but why not buy personal development books and cd’s instead that will warm up the soul. Or sign up someone for hatha yoga classes which will benefit the body and uplift the spirit, rather than cinema tickets which probably won’t. Consider getting children motivated and creative with painting or modeling or with healthy outdoor pursuits instead of indoor PlayStations. Although it’s nice to receive a present in hand on Christmas day, yet try to make it small and practical and let the bigger item be more meaningful and inspirational.
Be mindful also to reduce the packaging material this year – boxes with colorful wrappings, ribbons, tissue paper, plastic film and the works, don’t help the environment! Make your gifts unique by wrapping presents cheaply yet beautifully using creative ideas and recyclable and environmentally friendly goods. Better still, send your friends an eco-friendly e-card telling them that your gift to them this year is a donation to a charity; a tree planted in their name; or will contribute in some way towards saving the planet.
What people really want at Christmas is your time, your attention and love. Remember the ones whom others often forget, give them a quick call, a visit and happy face. Stay cheerful, loving and considerate. These are the greatest gifts of all, and they don’t cost anything!
This notion of meaningful gift giving need not only apply at Christmas time but on all other occasions that gifts are exchanged. As your gift becomes a means to lift their mind, body and soul, they will be eternally grateful and this is the true sign of love and care.
It’s time… to be mindful of the gifts you buy this season. Make them practical, environmentally friendly, and most of all those that uplift the mind, body and soul. Reduce Santa’s list by being a creative shopper! Give the gift of your love and attention – these are the greatest gifts of all and they don’t cost anything!

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