Your Holiday Survival Guide, Part 3: Presence for Presents
Gift-giving is intended to be an extension of the love we feel for our friends and family, not a stressful, wasteful obligation. Simplifying your gift-giving so that every purchase is thoughtful could have a huge impact on your health in a few ways:
1. Holiday shopping = stress
We've all been in a mall at Christmas. It's bonkers! The crush of stressed out people, the recycled and stale air, the lack of healthy food choices... it all adds up to an unpleasant and unhealthy experience.
2. Cheap goods = harmful environmental toxins
Whether you're buying generic bath products for a cousin or plastic toys for a grandchild, cheap consumer goods tend to be loaded with BPAs and other harmful toxins that wreak havoc on our bodies.
3. Excessive gift giving = poor environmental health
Taking health beyond just the personal, let's stop and consider the health of our planet, for a minute. There are so many items produced to feed the Christmas and holiday monster, and it's all contributing to the demise of our planet.
So after that uplifting list, how about a ray of hope?
Gift giving doesn't have to be hard, stressful, or even environmentally damaging. If we get really present to the objective of giving presents, we're likely to make better choices. If you're truly interested in showing your loved ones how much you care, why not try some of these simplification strategies this year:
1. The sweetest Secret Santa
Secret Santas can be impersonal and wasteful, or highly intentional and sweet. Try organizing one with your family: pick names out of a hat, and allot a larger sum of money for gifts, and agree that that's it - you buy for the person you draw, and no one else. And then enjoy spending the time and energy you would normally pour into serial shopping on spoiling just one person with one perfect, on point gift. If everyone adopted that attitude, imagine how special Christmas morning would be!
2. Get crafty, embrace DIY
Get all Martha Stewart (if you're so inclined), and make some gifts this year. Check out this post from last year about all the magical things you can make in a healthy way, all on your own!
3. Give it a second life
A friend's family invoked a Christmas challenge a few years ago: unsettled by the amount of waste they saw at the holidays, they decided to only buy one another used items. They scoured thrift stores, Craigslist and other second hand venues, and found each other wonderful, unique gifts. They were so impressed by their resourcefulness, they invoked the rule full time, for all Christmases and birthdays since.
However you go about giving and receiving this year, make it intentional, healthy and simple - and enjoy the results that follow!