Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mindful Gifting

Its a week before Christmas.  How many of you are done with your christmas shopping? How many of you feel overwhelmed just mentioning the thought "gifts/shopping?"  And yet another question - how many of you are making a conscious effort this year to be mindful about the gifts we buy for our friends and family?I will be the first to admit - that at this time of the year in the past i have tended to get a little tad excessive and crazy with gifting - which financially is not always a good thing  - and no one likes to start of the new year with regret.  So as the holiday season was approaching, I decided to practice mindfulness with gifting - and see if it does make a difference.  

What do I mean by mindfulness?  Very Simply - being present with everything that I do, rather than letting myself get swayed into the future or some other land.  And I found that Practicing mindfulness during this time of the year has been a great tool for making heart centered choices for our gifts this year. 

First and foremost, I made a myself a list- who am I buying gifts for? Who is on my list.  Then, next to each person on the list, I listed one word that made me think of them. The reason I did that was becauseit helped me gain insight into how and what I may want to purchase for them.  who are they? what do they like? what brings them joy? do they have everything they want -then maybe some quality time with them? Even if it is your mailman for example, you may not know them personally, but think of something that you think would bring them joy...in essence- asking my heart to guide me with the gifts.  

Then I had to come up with a budget, and make a resolution to stick to that budget.  This is where mindfulness is so important because it meant paying attention to my body as i make the budget - am i breathing faster, is  my head hurting, am i feeling tense - it is very important for me to pay attention to my body especially doing this exercise - because that helped me be aware of the emotions I was feeling, and down the road, helped me make conscious purchases, not frivalous ones.  The thing about mindfulness is that you are paying attention to what you are doing at that present moment - not about what you would like to be doing, or how you would like to be doing it - and the budget exercise was important because it helped me when i was out shopping.  

The next thing I did was not have a deadline by when I needed to finish my shopping by- so for example - as long as I have it by christmas day, I'm good.  So it meant that I was not going to go crazy with spending long hours at the mall shopping, or spending enormous amount of time surfing the internet.  This was so important because it saved me time and energy. It also made the shopping more fun - because each purchase I made was unique - it was focused on that one person at that particular time, and it made the process less chaotic.

I did one more think- have you thought of how the perfect gift sometimes miraculously just falls into your lap- there is someone guiding you - whatever you want to call it- use that - and you will see how much more fun the process is.   

Gifts are a wonderful way  of showing your friends, co-workers, family and that special someone how much you care about them.  With a week away before Christsmas, there is a certain energy in the air of the last minute Christmas shoppers and the to do lists that never seem to end.  If you haven't done your shopping yet, and are feeling frenzied, trying mindful gifting, it will do you wonders.  We forget about the real meaning of this holiday - and get carried away with the consumerism around us - or on some level a desire to please and thinking that pleasing is linked to materialism - but in essence, it is really about the person and sharing something wonderful with the person -sharing yourself, and what better gift can that be? Think of your favorite childhood Christmas memory - for me yes the gifts were fun to open - but it was that day - spending time with my parents - going for a movie on Christmas day - a good meal -those are the things that I remember - not so much the gifts....so keep that in mind when shopping this year. 

Ah, and yes-during this time, it is very very important to BREATHE.  Our breathe brings you back to the present moment and by being in the present, our decisions are clearer.
Some examples of Mindful Gifting:
  • -giving an experience i.e. massage, painting class, an e-course, a walking tour - look at groupons/living social for great deals.
  • -a photobook with a story- My publisher has some great deals, as well as Shutterfly
  • -gift cards -they may seem impersonal, but believe me someone receiving a gift card is always appreciative...
  • -movie tickets 
  • -self-care products -
  • -lunch/dinner to their favorite restaurant
  • -a bottle of wine will never hurt:)
  • -donating for social cause - toy drive, coat drive, etc.
Happy Journaling!

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