By Stacie Rose
As the season of giving gets underway, many of us will likely ask ourselves the same burning questions we ponder year after year. What do we want? What do we need? And what in the world can we give to our friends and loved ones? These are straightforward questions, albeit with complex undertones. They can conjure a multitude of thoughts and emotions like excitement, joy, anxiety, fear, and even existential contemplating. Why must this time of year create so much overwhelm for so many? And how can we avoid the pitfalls of pre-holiday pandemonium and approach gift-giving more gracefully?
It’s a lot to manage and muster because most of us care. We care about what people think of our gift-giving skills and other superficial things like how much we spend. We want to be thoughtful and sentimental yet sometimes lack time to shop or the funds we think we need. We get disenchanted, settle for something less than ideal, or give up and feel bad. On the other hand, we often harbor expectations of what we think we deserve, measuring our worth or how appreciated we are by the gifts we receive. Sometimes we are too selfless, to be honest about our wishes. Other times we throw creativity or thoughtfulness out the window because we simply cannot deal with crowds or handle being swept up in all the sardonic aspects of commercialism.
But what if we approached this holiday season a little differently? What if we gave the notion of gift-giving a bit of a spiritual makeover? Perhaps it would be easier to embrace the beauty of this time of year with a game plan that is joy-inducing or even beneficial for both the gift-giver and the giftee. If we thought about gifts that go on and about the sentiment over the stuff, maybe we could turn this folly into jolly!
Something vital to everyone, regardless of interests or materialistic ideations, is wellness and nourishment for the mind, body and spirit. We could all use something to feed our souls, and help us feel balanced, boosted and bathed in love, especially during the holidays. Let's be mindful of the fact that a season of festivities and fanfare has many frenzied over family drama, funds, social obligations, avoiding burnout and staying healthy!
Something often overlooked is that finances need not be a factor. Some gifts are so uplifting and sweet that you simply cannot put a price tag on them. Gifting a painting, piece of pottery, poem, or framed photo is a perfect way to Shower the people you love with love, as the great American songwriter James Taylor put it so eloquently.
Gifts that help us relax recharge and feel pampered are always appreciated. A gift card for a massage, Mani/Pedi, or service at a favorite salon can be a sweet treat for the right person on your list, especially a busy mom, overworked friend or anyone in need of self-care.
You might consider making a charitable donation on behalf of a friend or family member with a particular interest in a specific cause or organization. This shows that you care about things they care about.
Gifts that create experiences are a beautiful way to stay connected with others. Movie, museum, theatre or concert tickets are spiritually uplifting. They can help someone who may be struggling with isolation. Tickets to an activity that can be enjoyed together can help someone feel appreciated, loved and more connected.
Gifts that have a medicinal or immune-boosting spin can be quite welcome during a season of battling colds, Covid-19, Influenza and other nasty viral interlopers. Think along the lines of high-quality herbal teas, essential oils with a lovely diffuser, and books about sustainable wellness, self-care, abundance, healthy cooking, fitness, and manifesting joy. A handwritten note inside the book’s cover is also a nice touch. You can spring for healthy meal service for someone who may be battling an illness and needs nourishment. Gorgeous journals filled with daily affirmations and books on finding gratitude make for loving gifts. Once again, you need not spend a lot- to say a lot about what someone means to you.
Other crowd-pleasers that fall into the wellness realm are gift cards to healthy restaurants, magazine subscriptions, wellness apps, meditation programs or a Master class. A soft, warm, wintery throw blanket, non-toxic, aromatic candle, fitness equipment, athleisure, or an updated version of a mixed tape in the form of a personal playlist on iTunes or Spotify could be just the thing! Or....why not gift wrap some vinyl for your favorite music lover? Music feeds the body and soul. Its positive effects are research-based!
If you really wanna brighten someone’s holiday and give a gift that just keeps on giving, it’s as simple as one, two, three…plant! Put a plant in a pot, add some nutrient-rich soil, and tie a bow around it! If you've never had a green thumb in your life, pop over to Lowes, Trader Joe’s, your local market or florist for a perfectly potted, living thing that will clean the air, remove toxins, and constantly oxygenate any living space! Easy, economical, beautiful, thoughtful, medicinal, and mood-enhancing. And the recipient will think of you whenever they enjoy the gorgeous, leafy greenery!
Safe, clean, sample-size, non-toxic perfumes like varieties from Henry Rose make great stocking stuffers. Stylish reusable water bottles, free of BPA and other harmful chemicals, promote hydration. A sound machine, silk pillowcase or soft scarf can encourage sleep, warmth and relaxation. Gift cards to local juice bars, salad shops or dark, luxurious fair trade chocolate bars with less than 5 ingredients loaded with antioxidants are all excellent options.
But the biggest takeaway here is that the greatest gift in wellness is the gift of love, time and presence. The most wonderful time of the year can be dizzying and downright difficult for many people. You may not know what people are going through physically or emotionally or what they need. But as Barbra Streisand sang so melodiously in Funny Girl and brought these very words to life…People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.
Remember that a handwritten note of appreciation can mean a lot to a teacher, crossing guard, or the people in your neighborhood who make a difference. Writing a positive review for a doctor, restaurant, house cleaner, dog groomer, or any local business that goes the extra mile could help them generate more business. A gift that keeps giving!
This is the time to be with your people. Be with your pets. Be with the ones who make you feel good inside. Love them up, and nourish them with your time, a warm meal, a game of chess, a glass of wine, a movie, or a night of binge-watching something fun. Volunteer to help a friend or give your time to a local organization that needs a hand. The greatest gifts in wellness make you feel good inside and out. These gifts keep you going and make a difference by enriching someone else’s life. Less is often more. It’s always the thought that counts and effort that matters. The greatest gifts… that truly keep on giving are the ones that come with pure intention straight from the heart.
Stacie Rose is a mother, writer, producer, songwriter, wellness speaker and health advocate. She’s a certified integrative nutrition health coach, holistic lifestyle enthusiast and free spirit. She’s passionate about making music, writing, and helping others create sustainable wellness. Having navigated some tough terrain, she took a deep dive into wellness to help others reclaim their health. Stacie has dealt with severe food allergies, intolerances, IBS and acid reflux. She found that all these conditions can be vastly improved by making diet and lifestyle modifications. She works daily to create balance and cultivate a beautiful, active, nourished life for herself and her family. A firm believer in the power of mindfully, intentional living, her philosophy is that transformation is about possibility, positivity and persistence and that small adjustments can make a big difference!