The holidays are already upon us! They seem to arise more quickly with each passing year. Maybe it’s simply a sign of me getting older and more used to the passage of days, weeks, and months. However, I am steadfastly refusing to believe this, and have thus attributed the quick lead-in to the winter holiday season to this year’s terrific Midwest fall weather. So nice that it was indeed difficult to imagine the onset of cold and snow!
For many of us, the holidays can unfortunately create a period of added stress. Getting together with family brings out both the best and the worst in all of us. Relationships can become strained, and in instances where some issues already existed, getting together may add undue anxiety to one’s life. On top of all of the relationships – the numerous hyped-up advertising channels, too many (or too few) party invitations, and constant media messages to ‘enjoy the season’ can drive one to over-load.
One way to pull back a bit is to consider your gift giving strategies. Thinking about what to get for whom, who wants what, not blowing your budget, and more? All of these concerns can be more than overwhelming.
We therefore suggest giving various gifts of time. And when discussing time spent with others, we mean an activity where you actually need to engage, to speak face to face with someone else – some function where one is not engaged and/or interrupted by electronic devices, an activity that requires one’s full attention. In the long run, relationships are the things that matter the most! “Studies have found that people drive more satisfaction from experiences than from material gifts.” (Chicago Tribune 11/22/15; Gifts that Keep on Giving)
Below are a few suggestions for spending time together, categorized by age group and gender. Note that movies, shows and other events which limit one-on-one engagement are excluded.
Give each of your kids or grandkids a certificate to do something with you for one hour each month. This works super well with multiple kids; each feels as if they do not have enough time with just you. It could be a simple lunch at a neighborhood cafe, a walk in the woods, or even cooking together. No need to spend a lot of money.
For Teenage Girls
– Attend a spa day
– Take an art class together
– Create a scrap book
For Teenage Boys
– Take a cooking class or bake something together at home
– Volunteer together
– Sign up for a rock climbing class
For Young Adults
– Non-electronic game and a reserved game night to play it! A few suggestions:
Ticket to Ride
– A home cooked meal, at his or her place with you in attendance.
– A digital frame, with various photos of the recipient. Go through this in person to fully capture many fond memories.
– Go ice skating.
For Elderly Parents
– Help organize all of their photos.
– Prepare some meals for them – involve them in the planning and take them shopping with you to get the ingredients.
– Provide help with learning to use electronic devices – iPhones and computers. Set up Skype on their computer and teach them how to use it.