By Catherine Risling
This is going to be a great Christmas.
Shopping is well on its way and the pandemic has slowed down our pace of life, paving the way for a season focused on life’s many blessings rather than frantically filling our shopping carts.
Santa will be traveling a lot lighter this year. Our family has vowed to simplify yet remain thoughtful in our giving. Not one trip to a mall to date and not a crowd in sight as we make our way down our gift list with lots of armchair shopping.
If you’re interested in a new, relaxed approach, read on. We’ve got some great ideas for giving from the heart and making a sustainable gesture. This year reduce your spending after all, presents can be meaningful without a hefty price tag.
Homemade for the Holidays
No need to be a certified craft maven to create a unique present. With the abundance of creativity shared online, it’s easy to get inspired by borrowing an idea you can recreate. This year, our teacher gifts will include adorable reindeer slippers filled with foot scrub and nail polish.
Neighbors will receive homemade cookies boxed and tied up with red and white baker’s string. My 9-year-old daughter, who recently learned to sew, made her best friends eye masks with holiday fabric and also painted rocks into brightly colored ladybugs for the yard. If you like to bake, whip up a delicious dessert, spicy loaf of pumpkin bread or favorite family recipe to be enjoyed at a friend’s own holiday gathering.
Enjoy gardening? Get your hands dirty creating an eye-catching planter with succulents in a terra cotta pot or tabletop glass container.
A tried-and-true favorite is a collection of themed items—think pancake mix, syrup, coffee, hot cocoa and eggnog—artfully arranged in a basket, crate or other fun receptacle.
Whatever your passion, share the fruits of your favorite labors and you’ll find it’s no work at all.
Causes to Celebrate
Not all gifts fit under a tree.
Last year I gave my husband the gift of remembrance. We celebrated his parents, both of whom have passed away from cancer, with a prayer intention at Mass.
Consider making a donation in the honor of a loved one. Rainforest Alliance, Greenpeace and Conservation International are perfect recipients for the environmentalists on your list. For those troubled by human trafficking, a worldwide problem that has more than doubled in recent years, consider a donation to Shared Hope or Stop the Traffik. Animal lovers would appreciate supporting local shelters or national nonprofits such as Compassion for Animals and The Humane Society.
The holidays will look different for all of us this year but that’s doesn’t mean they can’t be memorable.
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