Does thinking about the holidays and shopping and gifts generally give you stress? A dear friend recently shared with me how much she dislikes shopping and how being invited to a gift exchange (yes, I was the one who invited her) gives her anxiety. Since gift-giving has always been something that gives me joy, this made me pause. I think it's easy, at times, to forget that everyone approaches the holidays differently and there are different pitfalls and stressors for everyone.
I don't claim to be an expert; however, I do love gift giving and I've picked up a few things along the way that I wanted to share with all of you as we approach the frenzy of gift purchasing, wrapping, and giving this season.
- First, make your list early. There will always be people you will forget and there are always last-minute dashes to pick up something for an event or person; however, the more time you spend in advance listing out the people who you want to purchase a gift for, the better. My list grows every year!
- Second, set a budget and stick to it. My husband is laughing himself silly right now because he's been trying for more than a decade to have me stick to a budget and I consistently decimate it. So, do as I say, not as I do. ;). In all seriousness, I do have a range for different categories of people. Parents, siblings, spouse, children, extended family, teachers, etc. It will help if you set a range and keep the gifts in each category similar.
- Third, rather than giving more $$ to the big box stores, support a local business or someone you know/love/trust in their creative endeavors. I read a meme recently that said something along the lines of - Amazon/Walmart/Target/etc. won't do a happy dance when you place an order, but the small business owner will craft your order with care and send it to you with love and good wishes. I'm sure I've butchered it, but you get the idea.
- Fourth, give without any expectation of an equal or similar gift. This one is a hard one for me and I've included it as a reminder to myself. Since I do love to give gifts and often do so without any holidays as an excuse, I often have very high expectations on the gifts I receive. Giving without any strings is truly the best way to enter into this season.
- Fifth, when you have the time and funds, stock up. I have a large part of my closet set aside for my gift collection. These are items that I pick up during the year that I save for gifts. When there are sales, a new item, or just an amazing thing that I purchase 2 or more of, my stash has ensured that there are options available when a gift-giving event comes up that I've neglected to prepare for. Yes, a gift-giving event could just mean a Tuesday, but the point is that I have a stash so I don't have to run to the store and pick up whatever is available.
- Sixth, and finally, have FUN! I do understand that not everyone gets as much joy and satisfaction as I do at finding the perfect gift or seeing someone in tears they are so happy about a gift; however, as I watch my children give and receive gifts with pure excitement and joy, I'm reminded that that's how we should all enter into this custom of exchanging gifts.
Shopping local from patients in the MBC community
Here are some ladies in the MBC Community who have turned their creativity into Etsy shops, in no particular order, of course, since I love all of them:
- Natalia Padron is a dear friend in Orlando who started her business, Naty Wellness after MBC stole her ability to work in healthcare. She makes soaps to die for, personalized jewelry, and bakes FABULOUS cakes! Natalia is incredible and when I contact her to duplicate something I've seen somewhere for friends, she always says yes. She puts her heart and soul into each item she crafts and it shows. Natalia has recently added the cutest holiday gifts of different soaps that are packaged beautifully -- perfect for teachers, bus drivers, nail technicians, your medical team, etc!!
- Deborah Croskrey is a dear friend living in Missouri who started her business, Sacred Bee Apothecary after MBC stole her ability to work as well. Fun fact -- Deborah means "bee," so, in addition to carrying honey and bee-inspired items, the name of her shop also contains her name! Deborah is also a master thrifter and spends so much time turning well-loved items into something new and beautiful. She makes beautiful jewelry, many of it personalized or available for personalization, and honey soap and the most lip-smacking lip balms/sticks you've ever tasted. Every time she uploads new scents/tastes/etc., I usually hop on over to Etsy and they make the perfect additions to those stockings you are filling up!
- Danielle Thurston is a new friend (and fellow contributor on this site) who lives in Colorado and recently started her own endeavor, Empress Theodoras, after an historical figure who had breast cancer. She pours the most amazing soy candles! I'm particularly excited to light the one for the Winter Solstice since that's my birthday. There are a variety of shapes and sizes, also a great idea for filling a stocking or gifting to your medical team, plus there is the added bonus of perhaps ensuring that the office or infusion center is smelling a bit better!
Supporting someone in our community and getting amazing, unique, special gifts for others - this is a no brainer for me!
Now it's your turn - do you know of others in our MBC community who have an Etsy shop or otherwise create gifts? Let's share that information so that we can all support each other. Also, if none of these tips resonate with you, no worries, we are all different!! Share your tips too so we can all learn from each other. We are #StrongerTogether!!
Caregivers: Do you practice self-care?