Holiday time and gift giving are chasing me again this year. There are people I want to acknowledge for all the amazing ways they show kindness, emotional support, and love throughout the year. This time of year leaves me breathless as I run toward that finish line that screams "Christmas." How to balance these feeling of generosity with the little Grinch of a Gremlin called "the budget" is a challenge that threatens to release the bah humbug in many of us. Here are some ideas that I recently unpacked from my holiday box of memories. Perhaps one of them will inspire you to create a gift that can be added to someone's treasury of holiday memories.
- I was the oldest of six children in our family. Each year my Dad would carefully print the Months, Days, and Numbers on a large blank calendar that he had picked up from an office supply store. (I assume that's where he found the item.) He then added every important event we needed to remember: Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Special Occasions. This was his hand written gift to my mother. She posted that large calendar by the phone (back in the day when phones were actually attached to the wall) and used that organizational tool to track all of our activities throughout the year.
We posted my dad's concerts (he played French Horn for the Army Band, Virginia Philharmonic Orchestra, the Virginia Opera, and various other venues). We also listed school activities and special projects that were due. At the end of the year, it was fun to look back on that calendar and see how much our family had done. I loved that calendar because it was so well written. My dad had excellent teacher style printing, but I knew it must have taken some time for him to make it look that nice.
Even if you don't want to hand write a calendar, there are many beautiful pre-printed ones that can serve the same purpose. Add special touches of your own: Favorite quotes, inspirational words of wisdom, or funny sayings sprinkled throughout each month. The gift of time spent adding those unique items makes the present a Gift from the Heart.
- One year I purchased card stock from the craft store and cut each sheet into pieces the size of business cards. My three children and I added memories of special things to give to their grandparents. We included descriptions of special meals and favorite treats, movies we viewed together, holiday events, funny quotes, unique personality traits we love and appreciate, and even aromas that have left a lasting impressions. I added memories from my own childhood including things I enjoyed about growing up in a large family. My children even added art work on those tiny cards. We found a decorative box (there are many selections at the dollar store) and placed those cards into the box. A ribbon was added to complete the look and keep the box closed until its reveal. The hand written cards and art work took some time to complete, but turned into a fun activity with my children. It was a Gift from the Heart.
- One year when I lived in Germany I found myself alone for Christmas. I decided to volunteer to make and deliver cookies through our church group. Baking helped me remember the amazing aromas associated with my Hungarian mother's cooking. I packaged the cookies in those cute little holiday tins, just like my mom did when I was a child. I received my mission to deliver cookies to the soldiers on guard duty for Christmas Eve. In my little yellow 1978 German Specs Volkswagon Passat (hey...I paid for it myself in cash for $550.00) I delivered those cookies. I could have been delivering gold given the response from those soldiers. Their smiles and heart warming thanks were all I needed to feel the spirit of Christmas. I no longer felt like I was alone, in a foreign country, far away from my family. I was also given a Gift from the Heart.
There are many ways to make a difference to others this year. I would love to hear from my readers about how you created a memorable moment and gave a Gift from the Heart. It doesn't have to cost a lot. It just needs a little time and a touch of creativity.
Have a wonderful week and thanks for taking time to read
this blog. You are appreciated!