Every year December arrives on our doorstep only to catch most of us unprepared for the festive season. In addition to work and family commitments, we have to spruce up & decorate our homes, as well as get fit and camera ready for the parties. Many of us are also faced with the dread of festive shopping and getting christmas gifts ready for everyone, with the thought of ‘where do I start’ constantly punctuating our already exhausted brains.
This year, instead of doing many separate posts on the subject of Christmas gift ideas, I thought I would simplify the task and do one coherent post, which will hopefully help to inspire you.
For me, choosing a gift is more to do with the pleasure of giving and seeing a smile light up the features of the receiver, rather than giving the latest ‘it’ item or the often predictable things suggested by the retailers or magazine editorials . I also don’t like rushing and never buy last-minute gifts, as I want my gifts to show the person that I care for him or her and make an effort to learn what will delight or surprise my friend, colleague or the person whose presence in my life I appreciate.
One more thing that I want to share with you: this year one of my son’s friends chose to forego his birthday gifts, choosing instead to ask them for donations for Mary’s Meals charity, that provides one hot meal a day for children in Africa, at their place of education. After the party he wrote a card for each of his friends, thanking them and telling them that thanks to their joint effort 23 children will be fed for a year – just ponder that staggering thought for a moment!
Shortly after my son, inspired by one of the suggestions made by his school teachers, roped me in to help and together we made a ‘shoe box’. Yep, you have read this correctly! We decorated it with Xmas wrapping paper and filled it with toys, pencils, mini puzzles & comics, as well as some good quality dark chocolate. When the box was finished , my son took it to school, eager for it to reach a boy similar in age to him, who sadly might not be getting any festive treats or gifts otherwise. As we were preparing this shoe box with love and creativity, I couldn’t help but think that actually it is gifts like that, that require your time and an open heart that are particularly poignant, reminding us all that it is a privilege to have a roof over one’s head, a hot & delicious home-made meal on the table at the end of a busy day & a feeling of love and joy that washes over each one of us when we are together we those we love.
Giving, I think, should be about meaningful pleasure, rather than about purchasing another expensive trinket for ourselves on the occasion when we had a bad day, which, incidentally is always a short-lived pleasure. Thanks to my son and the amazing team of people who teach him at school, as well as the example set for me by my own parents, I was again reminded that it is the simple things in life and supporting those we care about, without even knowing them on occasion, that matter. As is, in my case, choosing to buy things from brands that I, as consumer, want to support and which, in turn, give back to society or charity, while running a business not for their own short-term benefit but with long-term business plan & genuine care for their customers.
I hope this post will inspire you and make you pause, before you go shopping for gifts for those people, who make your own life better or more meaningful.