I'm not sure why everyone is struggling with their gift list this year. To me the answer is so obvious it's kind of hitting us all over the head. We all know someone who is suffering from stress - maybe they can't afford a babysitter to get a little personal free time; maybe they are the caretaker of a loved one with Alzheimer's disease; maybe they are someone who never, ever takes time for themselves - they just always do for others; maybe it is someone who has been hit hard financially- like the shopkeeper of a Mom and Pop store you frequent, that has had to let the help go because they can no longer afford hired hands. I can create a list of scenarios that goes on and on for paragraphs. We so often see gifts as "material" objects when the easiest and worthiest gifts are our own gifts of time to others.
Imagine someone coping with a husband or wife, slowly deteriorating with Alzheimer's disease. These individuals can require round-the-clock care and typically lose more and more basic functions as time marches on. Imagine giving the gift of "2 days a week, four hours of relief each day" to the caretaker, so they can simply have some mental health time to relieve the stress and tension they deal with constantly. Presenting them with a personal "gift certificate of time" would be an incredibly sincere and heart felt expression of love and caring.
Kids actually know alot about these kinds of gifts.. I remember giving my mom a certificate to do the dishes for a week one holiday, and because savings from my allowance were mere pennies, it seemed like a really good gift at the time. Little did I and other kids around the world realize that these gifts are the true meaning of this hoiday season. So rather than get stressed or anxious about a sudden or long term change in your finances, wondering "what can I afford to give this year "- get smart and creative and give those gifts of time to loved ones who may be suffering similar fates or who maybe struggling to cope with their situation. They will be the best gifts you've ever given.
Published On: December 24, 2008