It’s that time of year again when the weather turns cooler, the days become shorter, and snow is in the forecast, signaling the start of the holiday season. It is a wonderful time for family and friends to share good times together and to give thanks for our blessings. While many of us enjoy the tradition of gift giving, shopping for the perfect gift for everyone on our list can be stressful! The increasing availability of on-line shopping, gift cards and longer store hours makes shopping and gift giving easier, but there is a growing interest in giving meaningful gifts. Perhaps there is an art to giving in the same way there is an art to conversation, writing poetry, or creating music?
There are many great ideas for meaningful gift giving (simply google meaningful gifts) and while I have chosen a few that resonate with me, you may want to start you own list before the holiday season begins.
THE GIFT OF TIME
In our busy lives, time is such a finite and precious commodity that to give our time may be the most valuable gift we can provide. Consider giving time to a community project or a charity. The possibilities are endless; from visiting an old age home, to volunteering at a hospital, your time is a welcome gift! Perhaps this could be a family initiative, which would have the added benefit of time spent together.
THE GIFT OF MEMORIES
One of life’s certainties is that we come into this world with nothing and we leave with nothing. When that day comes, what remains are memories shared with loved ones. A friend of mine recently gave each of her children a camera along with a note about the importance of building shared memories. From that day forward, her family has focused on creating memories rather than giving gifts, a beautiful intention, which has lasting impact.
THE GIFT OF A HANDWRITTEN LETTER
While handwriting is one of the few things that are unique to each of us, the art of handwriting is all but disappearing. Writing a letter takes time, thought and effort and can be a very meaningful gift. It is a wonderful way to share stories, tell someone how much they mean to us, or tell what we admire about them. Some of my most cherished gifts are the letters written to me by my mother. I can remember who she was through her words and unique handwriting style. There is no time like the present to write a letter to someone you love. All it takes is a pen, paper and a willingness to share what is in your heart.
THE HANDMADE GIFT
In a world where we yearn for simpler times, the lost art of handmade gifts is making a comeback. Handmade gifts show that we value the time, care and attention that went into making something special. This year, consider spending time to make a few gifts, or go to a local arts festival or craft sale to find something unique. Not only will you give a one of a kind gift, but you will also support people who make a living with their hands and creativity. A handcrafted gift is sure to please and may be one of the few things that may not get tossed out before the next season arrives.
THE GIFT OF NO GIFTS
Invitations for special occasions often include a note suggesting a charitable donation would be appreciated in lieu of a gift. From a child’s first birthday, to milestone celebrations throughout life, the gift of charity is a gift that reaches out to many. This growing trend acknowledges that our presence at an event is the gift, while at the same time provides an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. There are many options available on-line, which make it easy to combine gift giving and donations, so why not consider this for the holiday season or throughout the year?
These are just a few of the ideas that I have discovered and like. You could start your own list of meaningful gifts, and bring the art of giving into your life. You may find you enjoy gift giving and the holiday season more, and I’m sure your loved ones will appreciate it and so will the planet!
This holiday season Toronto’s First Anonymous Art Show in support of Art for Cancer Foundation, is a great source for meaningful gifts. The show will be held December 3-6, 2015 at AFC Place, 1884 Davenport Road, Toronto. Established and emerging artists have donated hundreds of 8”X8” paintings which will be exhibited and sold for $100.00 each. The artist remains a mystery until after the purchase.
100% of proceeds will go to support free creative programs for people living with cancer offered by ART for Cancer Foundation
Further details available at: www.artforcancerfoundation.org
Happy holidays and happy giving!