On New Year’s Eve 2019, I don’t think anyone could have guessed what would befall the world in 2020. I know that my New Year’s Eve party guests and I, dressed in roaring 20’s costumes, had no idea. We were literally dancing and toasting the year 2020 into being. Well, a lot has happened in a little over 11 months. This year has changed us all, in different ways and levels, but it has changed us. Now, the holiday season is upon us again. Can we rethink our holiday gift giving in 2020?
Many people have lost jobs, had salaries decreased, gone through savings, dipped into retirement funds early, or gone into debt to get by this year. This blog post is not about how budgeting, planning, saving, and investing, can get you through tough times- that will be talked about in other posts. This blog post is simply about rethinking holiday gift giving in 2020.
Consciously Shifting Our Gift Giving
Sometimes we get in a habit, pattern, or tradition about how we think things must be. During the holidays we can get caught up in the gift giving without really thinking about the consequences of over spending and/or unconsciously spending on gifts. I say this as someone who loves the holidays, loves to holiday shop, and gets great joy in giving gifts. In a year that has been financially tough on so many people, the last thing we need to do is end the year further indebted. This is the year everyone will understand that a gift-giving shift may be upon us.
There are many ways to rethink gift giving. Some are as simple as conversations with family and friends. Stating that this year has impacted me financially and I am unable to exchange gifts. There is no shame in that. A person who cares about you does not want you to go into debt just to carry on the tradition of gift giving. Or you can get creative and give heartfelt gifts that cost little or no money. Think out of the box. Write a poem, song, or a story for a family member or friend. Tell the person how she or he has positively impacted your life. That gift will put a smile on anyone’s face and maybe even a tear of joy in her or his eye.
When you do buy physical gifts, support local businesses. Small business owners and their employees are struggling through 2020. The holiday season is usually a boost for small businesses; let us continue to show our support by shopping local. There is something about giving a gift that comes from a local shop that gives the gift added inherent value. I am not only purchasing something special for someone I love. I am helping someone else live their dream. That is a win/win.
The Beauty of a Book
Buy a book for someone. Not just any book but a book that has special meaning to the recipient. Then inscribe a personal message on the inside cover. I have a friend who inscribes the books she gives me and years later, I still have her thoughtful words to read again and again.
I am a nature girl and a dedicated native plant, chemical-free, pollinator gardener- so I have to insert one of my favorite newly discovered authors here. His name is Douglas W. Tallamy and his books Bringing Nature Home and Nature’s Best Hope come highly recommended by yours truly and my pollinator gardening friends. And what if, your gift of a special book reawakened something that was dormant in the recipient? A book can be a gift that keeps giving for years to come.
Give to a nonprofit organization that your family member or friend supports. Nonprofits are hurting also. Being aware and in tune to a cause that someone you love supports- is a sincere and thoughtful act. Then make a card or note and let the person know you donated because what they care about matters to you.
If you are lucky enough to be with the people you love over the holidays- soak that in. Enjoy every moment. Be filled with gratitude, because the best gift we have is each other.
Susan, The MoneyMaestra