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5 Ways to Give Better this Christmas


Christmas can be a wonderful time, but it can also be a stressful time. I remember dashing out to stores the day before Christmas and frantically racing home,wrapping gifts and throwing them under the tree late into the night. In the end, I spent money on things they either didn’t need or want, and I felt exhausted, frustrated and feeling anything but grateful by Christmas morning. I also felt a deep sense of regret for buying into the culture of “more is more” and putting more money into big box stores and things I don’t really care about.

Eventually I asked, “How can I do things differently?”

Here’s what I came up with. Hopefully, you can use some of my ideas to have a peaceful, joyful Christmas!

1. Plan ahead

Well, duh, you’re thinking, I probably wouldn’t be reading this if I had planned ahead. But there’s a sweet spot I’d like to point out. Once December has started, it’s too late. Your family members might take a few days or a week to get back to you on that list to guide you in what to get. Instead, start asking about that list on November 1st. In fact, I tell the kids that if I don’t have a list by Thanksgiving, Santa isn’t coming (of course, my kids are old enough to handle that!)

2. Buy Local

You’ve worked hard for your money and spending it all in big box stores just isn’t that satisfying. I often feel yucky after blowing a bunch of bucks in a soulless company. When I buy from local artisans, however, I feel so differently. I know the maker’s name. I can shake his or her hand. And I know my money is going to this person I can smile at rather than to a bunch of rich people sitting around a conference table thinking up ways to get the most out of me for their benefit.

3. Think outside the box

Sometimes, your people have all they need. What can you buy for a person who has everything? One unique gift idea is the gift of an experience. People who have plenty of things might enjoy learning something new or trying something different. Consider giving them a dance or painting class. It might be just the thing they are missing from their full and blessed life.

4. Pay it forward

One year, I asked the kids if they would forfeit Christmas gifts for a trip to the Dominican Republic. Instead of purchasing gifts for each other, we bought gifts for the kids there. That year, their gift was the vacation and the joy of seeing kids in need experience Christmas gifts — some of them for the first time. Talk about memories!

5. Make something

A handmade gift says, “I’ve been thinking of you often.” Maybe you make homemade doggie biscuits for your dog-loving friends or bake cookies for the sweet-tooth folks in your life. You can also paint a painting or write a poem for the more sentimental friends.

P.S. For all of you who are still wrapping up Christmas shopping, if you try any of these suggested options, Elida will add in the FREE service of gift-wrapping your special item to really make your present stand out!

With peace and joy, wishing you all a merry Christmas!



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