Only 6 shopping days left until Christmas, OMG! Panic mode has set in. Every year we do the same thing. We procrastinate on buying gifts for those we love and for those whom we admire and want to thank for a job well done. We join the groups of desperate last minute shoppers looking for a feel good gift that says, “I love you more than words can express”, or “thank you for all you do daily”, or “Your help and support is appreciated”. We rummage thru the Sale racks looking for the right color, the right size and the best deal. We do this for countless hours to the point of Shopping exhaustion and delirium! Why?!?!?! For the rewarding feeling that we have done something great, for the feeling of “I got them the best, maybe even the most expensive gift!” Or do we do it for what it was really meant for, to say I appreciate you and this is a token of my appreciation.

Why is it that we wait until these major holidays to gift? Yes we send flowers to our moms on Mother’s Day, we buy dad a new BBQ for Father’s Day, and we buy birthday presents that are soon forgotten and trinkets that are almost immediately outdated by Apple. Yes, we gift when needed but why don’t we give of ourselves year round? Why not try something new this year. Give TIME and ATTENTION, yes I said it… give a part of you! No, I don’t mean YOU but a heartfelt piece of you.  Here are some ideas on what I mean:

  • Instead of giving your kids games and toys they will outgrow in 5 minutes, give them undivided attention. Give them a FAMILY VACATION that INCLUDES the entire FAMILY. Start an annual fund and go to a new location every year. This not only is a great way to connect with your family but is a great way to explore the world. You will create lasting memories and broaden their international knowledge. If you can’t take the entire family create “dates” with the kids. You can create a “day date” with each child and do something they love, whether it be go to the Dinosaur exhibit and then to a favorite restaurant or go to one of those crafty stores that have you create your own art and you can take it home when you are done. The idea is to do something that is more memorable then giving then a doll or truck.
  • For our parents, take them out on a double date to a nice restaurant. Let the conversation revolve around them and only them. Listen to them talk about how times have changed, about their upbringing, about how simple things were. Let them reminisce about the days they were young and fell in love. This will not only bring life into their life but give you some history about your loved ones.
  • For the nanny or the housekeeper, give them a day of pampering. This is TIME for themselves. These are the ones that constantly do for others and it would be a real treat for them to receive some attention. Send them to your favorite Salon or Spa for a couple of hours. A manicure is a great treat for those who work with their hands all day.
  • For a significant other, book a romantic getaway! Sometimes the thing we need the most is the least expensive. Time is golden! Book a couples massage or a chef for the day that can make you a nice romantic dinner at home, or go to a nice restaurant and then for a walk.
  • For teachers and daycare workers give them tickets to a movie or a play. This is time for them to be in a quiet place (trust me they will LOVE this). OR like I said above, a Spa treatment is always a great option, it’s amazing what a massage can do!
  • Service help- Doctor, Mail man, gardener/landscaper, etc… give them tickets to a sports event or a subscription to a magazine that they may have expressed interest in. One year I gave my postman a Starbucks gift-card. He once told me that he loved to go there on Sundays and read the entire paper front to back, quietly. I gave him a GC that would subsequently give him some quality time in a favorite location.

The idea is to spend quality time acknowledging those who you care about. I am not saying, don’t go Christmas shopping! Or boycott the mall and the cute boutiques in your neighborhood. I am saying, give with the purpose of giving back to them something so special as time.

My fondest memories of gifts I received are from family vacations, camping with friends, time at the Spa with girlfriends, dinner dates to special restaurants with my husband and sharing memories with the ones I love. These are the best gifts you can ever give and receive. Give all year round. Don’t wait until a special occasion to spend time and attention with loved ones, take the time out of your day every day. Take moments to appreciate the silly conversations your 4 year old has with her toys, listen to your parents remember their good ol’days, have conversations with your kids about life. It is amazing how a game of Monopoly brings families together. Enjoy the small stuff. So this year make it a priority to gift with a reason. Gift with purpose. Gift with love. Give without expecting, and give TIME, it’s in style this year!

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