Let’s be real for a moment. Despite being the most wonderful time of the year, the holiday season can be demanding and stressful!
Gift shopping can quickly diminish our good cheer and will to live. That’s pretty upsetting, especially since gifts and giving are supposed to fill us with joy.
Luckily, with a bit of forethought and mindfulness, you can indeed find joy in selecting presents, even if you’re on a budget. I can’t tell you what to shop for, but I can offer some pointers on how to shop and how to give from the bottom of your heart.
1. Recognize that you do not have to give gifts to everyone.
Seriously, they will survive without your gift. The world is not waiting in apprehension over your impending presents. Can your generosity make an impact on others? Of course! Do others depend on your generosity for their happiness? No, they don’t.
If you’re unsure whether you “need” to get someone a present, then you probably don’t. And if you have relationships that genuinely rely upon if/what you get them for Christmas, it’s time to reevaluate those relationships. Don’t be burdened by gift shopping that doesn’t need to happen.
2. A good gift does not have to be useful.
There’s little use attempting to distinguish good gifts from bad gifts, because we’re all different! However, I see a trending myth and I’d like to debunk it: the idea that good gifts must be useful.
Practicality is great, but so is beauty! Even a friend who could use more useful items will happily receive a gift that reflects their style, likings, and personality. Aesthetic gifts, like candles, art, or music, show that you personally know and value the recipient.
That’s not to say that useful gifts are inferior because they’re definitely not! But don’t shy away from something that suits someone just because it’s unpractical.
3. Don’t procrastinate.
This tip is not only to save you the stress of procrastination, but also to help you give better gifts. Gift shopping is a part of the giving because you are giving your time, money, and effort to make someone happy. So, give generously!
When you procrastinate, you’re at the mercy of whatever’s left in stock. You lack ample time to wrap and distribute the gifts. You risk your online orders arriving too late. Why subject yourself to this kind of skirmish?
To find a good gift, at a good price, without a struggle, start shopping in November. As the holidays approach, you’ll be so glad to snuggle by the fire and watch Elf, instead of rushing out to a crowded mall.
4. You are never obligated to spend a fortune.
When you receive a very nice gift, you naturally feel obligated to give one in return, something just as nice, if not nicer. This is because giving is a form of social reciprocation and it’s a ritual that helps us stay connected to our social circles. Obligation is inherently human.
Therefore, money does matter, as it’s part of the giving and taking to which, we are obligated. In the interest of staying connected and supporting our relationships, we should be mindful to reciprocate an appropriate amount with our gifts.
However, money is not true social currency. You cannot buy authentic human connection. You cannot earn friendship, love, or respect with expensive gifts.
With that, you are never obligated to spend a fortune. If you’re on a budget, the people who care will understand. If they don’t understand, why spend a fortune on them? When gifts don’t support true relationships, they ultimately support appearances and egos.
5. A thoughtful, less expensive gift means more than an expensive, unthoughtful gift.
What you buy matters a lot more than how much you spend! Again, money does matter, but only to an extent.
The point of a gift is to show that the recipient personally matters to you. As best as you can, select gives that are personal. This doesn’t require monogramming or special ordering every item, but really think about what would make that person light up when they unwrap it.
Take the time to brainstorm that person’s passions, quirks, and goals. Consider what gifts would reinforce their unique self. I realize this is easier said than done, but if it can be done, you’ll be so proud to have found that amazing gift! And your recipient will feel loved and known by the thought you put in.
With giving, money, and your effort put in perspective, hopefully you feel more ready to take on gift shopping this season.
It might be at the bottom of your to-do list, with the additionally challenges posed this year due to Covid-19, but if you plan on shopping at all, do it well and with love. Best of luck and to all a good night!