Some of the Best Gifts, Money Can't Buy
By: Katie Nehl, Communications Manager
It’s hard to believe how fast another year has flown by! Here we are, just a day away from Christmas and on the verge of 2020. As Christmas quickly approaches, and New Year’s is just around the corner, now is a time when people are scurrying to find the last minute “perfect” gift for their special someone, planning what to make for the “perfect” Christmas dinner and what their “perfect” goals should be as their New Year’s Resolutions. Sadly, now is also a time when we get so caught up in the materialistic things and objects.
I’ll admit, I myself have shopped several hours to find my family and friends gifts they will like even though we continually say we “really don’t need anything.” This philosophy of finding perfect gifts has caused us to forget, that some of the best gifts can be free or relatively cheap. My parents have always taught me, Christmas shouldn’t be about what’s wrapped under the tree, but what gift we can give, that’s in our hearts. Now more than ever, I’m trying to remember that and follow their guidance. Here’s a few ways that you can impact others without breaking your savings account:
Time: People always say time is money, but it doesn’t have to be. Time is one of the biggest and inexpensive gifts you can give yourself and others. Giving yourself the gift of free time can truly help your perspective in life. It can help refresh and rejuvenate yourself. Taking a day to go to the spa, read a new book or even work out in your shop on something you love is a great way to use the gift of time. You might feel lazy, but a day of peace and quiet to yourself, is good for the soul.
Rather than buying your little cousin that stuffed animal he wanted, take the time to buy him a zoo pass and go with him to see real animals, or to a rodeo where he can see cowboys ride horses! Another good idea is to give your coworker a handmade ‘coupon’ offering to babysit her kids so her and her husband can have a date night or give your significant other a coupon saying you’ll do chores for them. Also taking the time to help someone carry their groceries, put together boxes of toys for those kids in foster care, smiling at someone in passing, bake cookies for someone, or even holding the door open are all great “gifts of time.” Whether you’re a mentor to someone else at work, or even just stay late after work to teach someone more about the project you’re working on, that extra time you spent can greatly impact that person for the better. It’s little things like this that is more meaningful then wrapping a gift they don’t need.
If you really feel the need to spend some money for your friends, family, coworkers or significant other, you can do so through a vacation or mini trip, where quality time can be spent together. If you’re looking for something different for next year, plan a mini get away to an inspirational speaker, plan to all help volunteer at the homeless shelter or serve meals on wheels, or even plan to all just jump into the car and drive around looking at Christmas lights. Another idea could be to plan one night a month during the whole year and dedicate it to some type of date night. Whether that means to simply sit and enjoy each other’s presence, learn to cook a new recipe, or play cards. Regardless of how you choose to give the gift of time, it should go without saying, in today’s world, time is an invaluable gift to give.
Love: The gift of love, shouldn’t really need much explanation. Unfortunately, many will celebrate Christmas and New Year’s without their loved ones this year. While others, might have loved ones in their lives, but the relationship might be strained. Set aside your differences with those family members, or whoever it may be and instead, spread your love to make it a better holiday season for you both. Additionally, if you’re looking for ways to spread love, doing things like visiting your long-time members in the nursing home, taking cookies to the new business in town or even spending time teaching your children to play an old-fashioned game of cards, are all ways to spread a little extra joy- not mention, free! Finally, don’t forget to tell those people you do care about, that you love them, tomorrow is never promised.
Creativity: Whether you realize it or not, we all have a creative bone. Using your creative talents to make a gift for someone, could definitely help cheapen holiday costs. It also is twice as meaningful because of the effort that went into it. When my brother and I were kids, our local daycare lady always had us make our Christmas gifts for our parents. From holiday ornaments, to pictures in frames, our daycare lady, always was creative with what we gave our parents.
Now that we’re all grown up, fortunately, for my family, we have several creative hobbies which helps when we need gifts on hand for family or friends. The point is, no matter what you’re doing, whether it be making a Christmas present, or challenged with a new project at work, being creative can be challenging, but life changing. Thinking outside the box for your local fundraiser or when trying to get your employees to be motivated about something, is usually what creates the best outcomes.
Personal Development: This gift goes along with the gift of time. You’re the only one who was with you all year long through the best and worst moments and who will always truly be with you. Giving yourself a gift to improve yourself, is a great thing. Sit down and decide what you want to become, what your career objectives are, and even what’s holding you back. Through this, you can improve and develop not only your skills out of the office, but inside the office. When you’re a better you, others around you can feel the positive effects of this. Take a yoga class, plan to lose weight, get more sleep, learn to play guitar to relieve stress, declutter your house, clean your email inbox, network outside of the office more or even get certified in a new skill. These are all ways you can help yourself grow, be more productive and give more to others. Setting goals and new year’s resolutions that help better yourself, can in turn be a gift that not only you, but others reap the benefits of.
There’s no doubt, Christmas will always be associated with presents; however, it’s important that we remember, there are a lot of gifts we can give by just being ourselves, and using the talents we’re given, both in and outside of work. Never underestimate the importance of spending a little extra time with someone, loving others, being creative in your work and continually bettering yourself. Giving, is better than receiving, as it shows what a generous heart you have. Some of the best gifts we can give, can’t be wrapped as they come from the heart.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.