This Christmas, my family graciously went along with the idea of not exchanging gifts, which Zen Habits describes wonderfully here. Our usual Christmas tradition is to draw names from a hat and to buy something special for the person whose name you’ve drawn. And it must be said that there is something lovely and special about exchanging gifts — the thoughtfulness behind the gesture, the fun in finding the perfect surprise. But it must also be said that shopping during the holiday season is wretched and stressful, and half the time everyone would be so drained by the time Christmas rolled around, some of the magic would be gone. We’ve decided that what we want most is to just, simply, enjoy each other’s company without the stress and weariness of the season nipping at our heels.
The idea of not exchanging gifts is bigger than just saving ourselves the hassle, though. No one in our family needs a single thing. Not a thing. If anything, we all have too much, despite our best efforts. Not exchanging gifts gives us the space and time to acknowledge how blessed we are to have everything we need. What I’m most excited about is that we’ve decided to take it a step further to pass on the blessings. We still drew names from a hat, but this year we’re going to donate in that person’s name to a charity that is meaningful to them. I can’t wait to see the different organizations that get honoured this year!
Even if you’re not forgoing gifts with your loved ones, if you have someone on your list who’s difficult to shop for, I found the holiday “catalogues” for various organizations to be so fun and unique and full of cool ideas of virtual gifts you can give that happen to make the world a better place. You can adopt wildlife through the World Wildlife Fund, you can give a family in a developing country a start on farming with a goat, chickens, and other livestock through World Vision, or a fair day’s pay to labourers or clean water to a community in need through Oxfam Unwrapped. And, of course, you could always donate to my favourite charity, PADS!
Love, bebes. And happy holidays!