Every year at this time we as Americans generally seem to go into the usual consumerist overdrive. With economic changes taking front and center, there seems to be an opportunity to practice gratitude for all that we do have and potentially rethink the giving process.
A couple of years back I made the decision to rethink my own giving practices, and have found that tremendous freedom and joy can indeed be found amidst the holiday hustle and bustle.
When I really reconsidered what my values were and those of many of my friends and family, I realized that we could still be generous, but not wasteful. We could help others in need and yet still share the thought that counts. We could educate and experience rather than consume for the sake of consuming. We could support each other’s wellbeing and health, so that good times may be enjoyed for a long time to come.
This is the power of choice. And how we choose to spend our time, our money and our energy is profoundly important.
Will we choose to give to Wal-Mart or to those in need?
Will we buy more plastic or support environmental health?
Will we seek meaningful experiences or just more “stuff”?
I realize I am placing my own value judgments out in plain view, but rather than preach, allow me to simply make an offering. In this offering you may find some tremendous value, just a little bit of value or no value at all. But perhaps someone else you know would get value from these ideas. If so, please share. This is part of what I call gift recycling, which I discuss further below.
Giving the Gift of Unforgettable Experiences (and time together)
I heard about this idea on the radio and just had to share it! If you visit the website http://discovery.excitations.com/, you can do a search for your location, type of activity and price range. Discovery Experiences is a collaboration between the Discovery Channel and Excitations, and they offer “unforgettable gifts for exploration and fun”. They offer gifts as diverse as Intro to Indoor Karting and Safari Family Sleepover. You can Learn to Sail or purchase a Guided Mountain Hike. The wonderful part is that you are supporting local businesses and having fun! There is something for everyone. This is definitely worth exploring.
Okay, I know I am not the first person who has thought of this, but I think it is an idea that should come out of the closet. This is not about giving your ratty socks to your coworker, but instead passing on those items that may not quite fit your style, but are of value to someone else. Objects, just like people, get their energy from being appreciated and utilized. This can be a lovely way to lighten up your space and brighten that of another. We have all received nice gifts that we cannot use or may not be the right fit. Passing them on to someone who would really cherish them can be very rewarding to everyone involved.
This is something I began doing last year for my family on the east coast. It is a wonderful way to show your love and appreciation AND help those who do not even have enough food to eat or water to drink. Again, this may not be for everyone, but it is an opportunity to possibly educate and enlighten others about what giving can look like.
I personally like World Vision because they are a reputable company who uses a good percentage of the donations towards the actual cause. They also offer many choices and make it very easy to do your “shopping”. To see their gift catalogue and learn more click the link below:
World Vision Gift Catalogue
There are certainly many more potential organizations to do this with and you may even want to search out a local, environmental or church organization. The most important thing is that it works for you and those you love.
The Gift of Health
Of course, this is the type of gift giving I feel especially passionate about. When we can support ourselves and our loved ones in staying around for a while and enjoying an active and vibrant life, we are at the essence of life. Especially during economically challenging times, we can evaluate what is really and truly important. This can be as simple as offering to shop for healthy foods for a relative who may not be as mobile anymore, or offering to be a weekly hike partner to a friend in need of support in getting moving. These are all FREE!
If spending a little cash is in the budget, then perhaps a book, DVD, series of yoga classes or professional health support can be purchased
Please visit the Devana Health Store http://astore.amazon.com/devana-20/
for some specific recommendations on books, kitchen utensils, food products and more.
Infamous raw food and herbal enthusiast, David Wolfe, has a wonderful online health service for those looking for some information and support for themselves and others. Please visit cick here to learn more.
And remember gift certificates for all Devana Wellness services are always available: Holistic Health and Nutritional Counseling (in persona and long distance), Private and group yoga, Private and group cooking classes, Healthy Food Preparation, Detoxification Guidance.
Holiday and New Year Blessings to all of you!