Better than Santa — simple tips to get into the spirit of giving

The Holidays are a time for celebrating with loved ones, sharing with the less fortunate and reflecting on the New Year ahead. Little else compares to the excitement of Christmas mornings: children ripping off colourful paper and discovering toys they’ve yearned for, seeing your loved ones’ faces light up when they unwrap a gift you have carefully selected and savouring delicious meals with family and friends are all memories to cherish for years to come.

Unfortunately Christmas comes with its own inherent challenges: we often feel pressured to show our love and appreciation through expensive gifts. We can spend hours shopping for the perfect present, depleting both our morale and our wallet — It’s easy to forget the true spirit of this season amid the stress and last-minute shopping excursions.

Get into the spirit of giving with these simple tips to make gift giving toughtful, fun and devoid of stress.


Teach your kids about gratitude

Children and teenagers associate Christmas with receiving gifts and more often than not, the more the better! The Holidays can be an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of giving and receiving, as well as teaching your little ones about gratitude. Telling your kids how lucky they are and how there are kids out there who are less fortunate is like nailing Jell-O to a (Christmas) tree — pointless. “One tried-and-true method for teaching gratitude and appreciation is by volunteering or giving to those less fortunate.” Pick a day and volunteer at a homeless shelter or if you’re strapped on time, ask your kids to round up the toys they no longer play with and drop them off at a shelter for women and children. On your way back, talk to your kids about financial uncertainty and ask them what they feel most grateful for.


Make it personal

You know your loved ones better than anybody. Dig in your memory for gold nuggets: those vial pieces of information that will elevate your gift from mere stocking stuffer to emotional rollercoaster. Peruse their social media accounts for hints or inspiration. Better yet, accompany every gift with a letter — forego the gift card, there’s not enough space to write what you really feel anyway — detailing the reasons you are grateful to have them in your life.


Better yet, make it yourself

Get creative and opt for a DIY present. If you know your sweetie is partial to chocolate, get crafty and whip up a batch of truffles. If your hubby is growing a beard, make him a care gift set with a buttery pomade and essential oils. Select some pictures of your kids and print out a book for their grandparents. The options are endless. Putting in time and effort into a one-of-a-kind present speaks volume about your love for the person, even more so than an expensive item they don’t need and you can barely afford.



Don’t go overboard

More gifts doesn’t mean more love: this year, settle for one gift per person and get a communal present for the family like a board game or an experience (tickets for a Hockey game or the Nutcracker). Focus instead on creating a celebratory environment by decorating the Christmas tree together, making your own ornaments and baking gingerbread cookies together.



The journey, not the destination

Do you ever feel like Christmas morning is a mere culmination of constant shopping, gorging on food and drinks and last-minute decorations? Instead of solely focussing on the 25th of December (or the 24th for some), start the 12th month of the year with a festive mindset. Give your home a good cleaning and put up some decorations (even more so if they are homemade!), tune in to some oldie Christmas movies, take a family portrait, create a Holidays-inspired Pinterest board to get organized, go caroling and most importantly, spend time with family and friends and cultivate the disappearing art of gratitude. By making the Holidays a journey, the big gift opening finale is that much sweeter.

Want even more Holiday inspiration? Don’t forget to check out our Pinterest boards: Holiday Gift Guide 2016, Christmas 2016 — a Prelude and Holiday Edit: What to Wear.

P.S. All photos are courtesy of Pinterest.