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Gift Giving: Three Things to Be Mindful of This Holiday Season

This holiday season will be different in many ways, including our gift giving. I don’t know about you, but in past years I oftentimes found myself purchasing gifts mindlessly to cover any upcoming gift exchanges for work, school, kids’ team parties, and other social gatherings. This was all in addition to the gifts for family and close friends. With the current pandemic, not only are parties out of the question, but with the financial strains and uncertainty that many of us are facing, being more mindful of our gift giving is our best option. Here are some things to be mindful of as we plan our gifts for this season:

  1. Be mindful of your thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. Are you letting your thoughts and emotions take over? For example, do you feel like you have to spend more this year to “make up” for the losses we have faced? Do you have any pre-conceived ideas of what a gift should be or cost? Are you feeling guilty, sad, or angry? Whatever you are thinking or feeling with regards to gift giving, hold those feelings and thoughts in kind awareness, and give yourself some space and time to consider what really matters to you.   
  2. Be mindful of your intentions and needs. What is your intention with your gift giving? Is it to inspire, to comfort, to nourish, to connect? Is it to give from your heart? Maybe it is to support local businesses and causes you care about? Likewise, what are your needs? Perhaps they are to feel safe by staying within budget, or to simplify, to be creative, to feel more connected. Whatever your intentions and needs might be, take a few minutes to consider them before you decide to go on a shopping spree! 
  3. Be mindful of the receiver’s needs. While it is important to consider our needs and intentions, when it comes to gift giving, the receiver’s needs matter just as much! Ask yourself: what would this person value the most right now? What would they find helpful or meaningful? Some people may value nice things or need financial help, while others may value hands-on assistance, quality time together, or gifts that contribute to causes they support. For many, a home-made heartfelt note might be the best gift ever!

While it is always a good idea to be mindful in our gift giving, this year has given us a unique opportunity to do so. I hope you discover some great gifts for your loved ones, and that you receive some mindful gifts too!

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