Saturday, December 15, 2007

Meaningful presents

I have always loved giving. I love seeing the smile on someone's face when they receive something thoughtful or something they've wanted. I love surprising people and letting them know that someone cares. And many years I've worked so much that I've been able to do that with material stuff. This year, I found balance. I worked less hours and wrote more. I took time to actually rest in off hours. And as a result I am richer in spirit but am not shopping much over the holidays! My friends and I all agreed to make presents for one another this year. We have enough stuff and instead we simply want to share love and experiences with one another, and things we can truly use or enjoy.

Last year we started gravitating towards this idea. I gave some friends a coupon for a meal a month for several months and I enjoyed cooking while they enjoyed eating. My friends gave me a dog-sitting voucher. Last weekend I spent hours in the kitchen making goodies I can't divulge because my friends read this list! We are sharing of our hearts, things that we can truly enjoy. And it feels good. It takes more time than shopping, to be sure. Its easy for me to get on the internet and place an order, or to run out to the mall that is ten minutes from my home. It takes hours to cook up a gourmet treat, but those hours are filled with intense love. I adore cooking - it looks good, tastes good, and smells good, and it nurtures the soul. I'm making other non-edible stuff too. I already gave my friends a slideshow of our Christmas's past that I made up on the computer. It made our hearts happy to remember all the good times - an instant upper that we can pop in the DVD.

I did buy something for my mom but instead of a traditional present I wracked my brain to think of what she'd love most, and (go angels!) I was reminded that my mom loves lemons. She can't get good ones out east, so Ann-ta Claus did get on the net and order my mom a box of delicious Meyer lemons. I didn't wait for Christmas; I just sent them. its a strange gift to be sure, but mom loves them like some of us love chocolate and they contribute to her health and well being. In this case, thinking inside the box worked!!!

Its been a really relaxed holiday season. I feel no stress, no rushing around in traffic, no need to 'worry about what to get'... I know in future years I may shop again, or not... but this year is special. I feel like I'm returning to some good old fashioned values and finding great solace in them. I've enjoyed decorating, baking, curling up late at night with a cup of cocoa and a warm fuzzy pair of socks looking at my Christmas tree, being with friends... I can't recall a holiday when I've been this honest about what I really want to do.

So this holiday season, enjoy whatever it is that really matters. If you shop buy only what truly feels meaningful, big or small. If you don't give from the heart. Even the smallest kindness goes such a long, long way.