23 November 2008
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."
As the holidays near, there's nothing like the warm gestures we give and receive that make us feel as if we were bathed in sunlight despite the bitter winter air. What we give doesn't always have to be something that can be packaged and tied up with string, but rather we can give gifts like love, cheer, hope, and laughter.
Perhaps the greatest gift we can give is love, however love requires something else we often consider precious: time. Saying, "I love you", never says as much as showing you love someone. Nothing speaks louder than your actions.
If anything, we become far more busy, in the holiday season, than throughout the rest of the year, but instead of creating a traffic jam on your calender by attending every possible party, and dashing around department stores for gifts, consider giving those you love more of your time this season.
Give the gift of a listening ear to someone you love, or go the extra mile, and take time to listen to those who are rarely given a voice, such as the homeless, the disabled, the elderly, and so forth. Give the gift of family: invite someone who is unable to be with their family this holiday season, to join your family for the holidays. Give the gift of song and cheer: go caroling around your neighborhood. Mirroring the topic of the previous entry: give the gift of forgiveness, and of acceptance.
Feed a hungry baby for a week, teach a child to read and write, rescue a child from bondage and abuse, transform the life of a disabled child, help fight epidemic diseases, provide clothing for those in need, or give something as simple as milk to boys and girls, who live in poverty, to help them overcome malnutrition. Trusted and established organizations like Samaritan's Purse allow you to give these and many other charitable gifts this holiday season.
While we must realize and remember the greatest gifts don't come with dollar value, most of us still wrap some gifts to place under the tree, and even material gifts can be given having thought and time put behind them. Don't settle for an obvious, easy buy, narrow down what your family and friends might really like to receive this year. Below are some (affordable, because I don't know about you, but I'm not made out of money) gift ideas, that I have found over time to be little gems, and for those who seek visual appeal, like myself, well-made and well-designed too.
1. Books To Check Out: A Journal (best suited for those who like reading, organization, and journaling); 2. Magnetic Poetry (best suited for those who like poetry, songwriting, writing, and words); 3. Blank Coffee Table Sketchbook (best suited for those who like sketching, doodling, and who frequently host friends and parties); 4. Wanderlust Travel Journal (best suited for those who like traveling, journaling, photography, and design - also see other Wanderlust products); 5. Paperchase Mag Bags (for U.S. citizens these are sold only in-store at Borders; best for those who like magazines, reading, bags, and fashion).
6. Flea Market Style by Emily Chalmers (best for those who like reading, flea markets, interior design, and vintage/second-hand); 7. Fingerprint (best for those who like reading, graphic design, hand-made design/elements, print work, and packaging design); 8. Cinematic Storytelling by Jennifer Van Sijill (best for those who like films, reading, cinematography, film method and technique); 9. Much Love Jewelry (best for those who like jewelry, hand-made craftsmanship, costume-like jewelry).
Feel like I've come close to hitting the mark of what your friends or family might like, but haven't quite found what you're looking for? Check out these sites for similar and related products to the ones I've listed above: Chronicle Books, Wanderlust, Michael Wiese Books, Paperchase, Etsy, and HOW Books. And stay tuned, as I'm considering doing a part two to include more products and gifts I adore...
What is the best (or one of the best) holiday gifts you can remember receiving, whether an actual product, or something non-material? What is the best (or one of the best) holiday gifts you've given? Do you get your holiday shopping done early, or at the last minute? Other thoughts? Feel free to share and exchange your own gift ideas when you comment.
P.S. While I've provided links to locations where all the products listed can be ordered, please note that other resources may be available in which you may buy some of the products, as well as, many of these products can be bought in-stores instead of online, or at more affordable prices. Feel free to do some Google-searching to find the best location and price to buy any of these products at. I also own nearly all of these products, and/or know who makes/owns them, so you're welcome to ask me any questions you might have about them.
Title Quote: Winston Churchill
Photo Credits: http://kes-ke.livejournal.com & http://styliste.livejournal.com & www.flickr.com/people/10330100@N06 & Christopher at www.thefashionspot.com.