Happy Holiday Wishes
Stores and some homes have lights. Here come Hanukkah, then Christmas. Cyber Monday, Black Friday...it takes on a momentum that is hard to resist, a manufactured anxiety. We're often left wondering: Is what we've gotten for each person, just the right thing - especially for the children? Have we gotten enough? How do we tell a child that the reason we won't get something they want is that it's junk or tied to some element of popular culture we don't want to encourage?
In other words, how to be true to ourselves and to the fundamental message of light coming into the darkness, love coming into our being together?
Here are a few thoughts to help us navigate this time:
Make an intention:
Write it down: it might help. Perhaps that you won't buy anything that is produced in a way that is not in line with your values. Or to remember that time with those you love is the greatest gift, time sharing family stories and doing projects together. I used to put a note in the holiday box to remind myself of the improvements I wanted to make the next year, the things I had learned - now I’d put it on my Google calendar for November 15th.
Timing: On-line shopping has pitfalls, but it does allow us to be more intentional in our purchases (and Caring Consumers to curate for you!) To maximize the benefit and minimize the downside of online shopping, start early so things are still in stock and you can group deliveries to minimize excessive packaging.
Have the Positive Conversation: When asked what the best gifts are for your children (or even yourself) with members of your extended family, be positive about gifts of time (teaching to cook or knit, for instance), emphasizing the value of that person’s involvement in the child’s life.
If that’s not feasible, point to developmentally appropriate gifts. It’s hard for them to know you don’t want a lot of battery-operated and digital media devices for your children, for instance, unless you tell them, and tell them why. Once you emphasize that the grandparent has special stories and skills to share with a child, our experience is that there is an opening to a less commercial gift-giving.
Emphasize Relationship: Thoughtful gifts are ways of saying “I see you and respect your interests” and also “I want to be with you, to figure things out with you as an adventure.” Sharing family stories (and recording them - as a way to engage a teen relative?) can cut through awkward or rote family events. We have some great suggestions - journals that help record the stories of family members, games and puzzles for family fun and cooperation (or competition!) and homemade gift ideas- kits for DIY gifts so a child can have the experience of making and giving gifts themselves.
Shop Your Values: That's why we're here. One of the things that has caused post-holiday remorse is seeing that some of our purchases didn't support companies whose values reflect our own. Whether your interest is supporting Organic, Vegan, Recycled, Fair Trade, FSC certified products and/or companies that "give back" to the society, you'll find things here you can give joyfully in line with your priorities.
Relax: Be good to yourself. We have options for a pre-holiday gift to yourself of that long bath. You, present and relaxed and the event not being exactly as planned is better than you frazzled and everything in place according to some image of perfection.
Minimize gift for small children: Do you know the story about the child whose parents sacrificed to get an expensive toy they were convinced their child would like, the latest thing being advertised, only to have that child prefer to play with the box the toy came in? Young children like things they can stick in their pockets, organize in boxes, treasure. Batteries not needed.
A note about pricing: The prices here are non-promotional. At this time, there may be deep discounts on that amount!
We wish each and every one of you a refreshing holiday