Why is gift giving at Christmas so stressful for so many people?
The rational thoughts we have tell us it’s the expense and the busyness of the shops. Maybe it’s even the consumerism that bothers us. And yes, these comments are all valid.
But the less rational more emotional thoughts that bubble up for some of us are of a more anxious nature. For some of us, the fear of getting gift giving ‘wrong’ is almost as anxiety inducing as your first day of school or the dreaded driving test!
For a holiday that is supposed to be about comfort and joy, we really do put unnecessary pressure on ourselves.
If you asked yourself honestly – would you say that the present buying pressure ruins what should be a relaxing time for you?
If so you are not alone.
So how about taking a more mindful, calm and dare I say festively joyful approach to gift giving?
I say it’s time to quieten the chattering monkey in your mind that freaks you out about the possibility that the gift you give someone might cost less than the one that was bought for you.
You know what… Out of the two of you in this ritual exchanging of gifts, one of you had to spend less. If you are nervous that it might be you, try considering that the other person may have the same hang up. If your present is the cheaper one, then guess what, you have given that person an extra gift in a way. The gift of letting them win the unspoken price battle!
It might sound simplistic and even cheesy, but it really isn’t the material value that counts. Don’t worry; I’m not about to burst into song! What I’m driving at is there is more to a gift than the price tag.
The BEST gifts are the ones that demonstrate how well you know the person you are buying for. It’s those personal touches that really show you care. Not the price tag that, let’s face it, you have to peel off first anyway.
So how can you buy a gift more mindfully?
I’m sure by now you have heard me talk a bit about values – you know, those qualities that make up a person’s personality and define what they care about most in the world. How about then, thinking about your recipient’s values when choosing a gift for them.
To put this into practical terms, if you are buying for somebody who cares about the planet and sustainability, there are a whole range of values-based gift ideas to choose from. From a ‘grow your own’ seed starter kit, to products made from recycled plastics.
Did you know, you could even buy something as huge as a surfboard made entirely from plastic rescued from the ocean? There is so much out there, and thanks to the Internet, it has never been easier.
Another way to flip your perspective on this AND to calm your chattering monkey mind, is to put yourself in the shoes of someone receiving a gift. Think about what would really make you happy. I bet it’s not the most expensive thing you can thing of – far from it. In fact, you would probably be quite uncomfortable receiving something extravagant. Keep in mind that this works both ways!
The gifts that mean the most to you are things related to what you care about, who you are, and what you stand for. To shorten and simplify… your values. Now turn that back the other way, and think about the values of who you are buying for. Suddenly, you have fresh ideas coming into view and hopefully a little less anxiety too.
I know it’s easier said than done, but do try to enjoy the holiday season. It shouldn’t be all about you giving, hosting and entertaining. You are allowed to rest and enjoy the break yourself.
Have a wonderful December!
Now that’s one of your smaller problems put right – would you like to look at some of your bigger ones?
It doesn’t have to be intimidating to choose a big change of direction in life, or indeed to decide to stay where you are without the FOMO (fear of missing out) monster chasing you down.
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