Love has no limits. Pocketbooks do. I read these words on an online shopping site. I like it. It’s much better than the ad I heard on the radio, “A Truly Special Gift is a Rolex.” I like to think retailers are sympathizing with consumers. It definitely resonates with me. I think more people are having to spend less and think more about what they can give and not buy.
Which leads me to think about what I have to give that I can’t buy. My love, my time and my resources. It’s so much easier to buy something! That’s so bad, but true. I imagine other singles can relate. Your time is limited between work, working out, cooking a meal for one, returning emails, walking your dog, cleaning your house, doing your laundry, paying your bills, and making time to socialize. Sure, you don’t have a spouse or kids to take care of, but you don’t have anyone to help you with your responsibilities.
Okay, enough sympathy. Everyone is feeling the pinch in their wallets and everyone has limited time to give. I actually think the recession is a good thing. It is forcing people to be resourceful and makes them appreciate what they do have.
Re-cycling and re-gifting are becoming in vogue. I imagine ebay, craigslist and yard sales did pretty well this year. We all have a ton of stuff that we are no longer using, why not give it to someone else who could enjoy it? I have a god daughter who is 5 and wants stuffed animals for Christmas. Instead of going to the store to buy her a stuffed animal, I remembered I have a beautiful Vermont Teddy Bear (that I received from an ex-boyfriend years ago) in storage. The bear now has a new home and it made a little girl very happy. Kate from DC recently bought a french press I had listed on craigslist. Her roomie and her decided they are doing only recycled, enviro-friendly gifts this Christmas. What a great idea! Did you know the average life span of our stuff is 6 months? We use it for 6 months before it goes into a landfill. Check out this amazing video about the story of stuff. http://www.storyofstuff.com
Not only Kate, but lots of my friends are thinking about the environment as they shop this year. Let’s talk about wrapping paper and all the tags, bows and peanuts to ship these gifts. According to the EPA, Americans, on average, increase their garbage amount by 25% between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’ve been recycling box, bows, and ribbon for years. I can’t remember the last time I bought these items. My girl friend does the same so we’ve literally been trading bows for the last 15 years. This year I saved my shredded documents to ship my gifts. I have a friend who only wraps his gifts in the newspaper comics. You could call him “cheap” but he’s “smart” for helping the environment. Wrapping paper that’s shiny or sparkly can not be recycled. Another great idea is to combine as many items in one box as possible so you use less wrapping paper. TreeHugger and Slate Magazine have more great tips for the holiday.
One of the best environmentally friendly gifts is someone’s time. I recently had a holiday dinner at a friend’s house. He shopped and prepared the meal from 11 am until 7 pm that evening. What a wonderful gift to enjoy a meal with good friends!
I think cooking a meal would be the perfect gift to give that new sweetie in your life! Just use your imagination to come up with other great ideas…okay, all minds out of the trash! Below are some creative ideas:
1) Are there songs you have enjoyed together or maybe songs that remind you of him? Make him or her a compilation of these songs, create a list of the songs and personalize it with thoughts about what the song means to you, when you first heard it together, etc.
2) Are you in a long distance relationship? What about making him a video on iMovie sharing your favorite memories or go live on Skype, wear a santa hat and sing/lip sync “All I Want for Christmas is You.”
3) Does he really like your perfume? Take an old dryer sheet and spray with your perfume. Put it in a one of your clean, pressed pillow cases, fold into a little square and pin a little tag on it that says “sweet dreams”
4) Write down all the things you like about him, print it out on a nice sheet of paper and wrap it around a candle with a little tag that says “you light my life!”
It’s the personal touches that make the gift truly special and not the amount of money you spent on the gift. Need more ideas? Look at these great gift ideas that range in free to cheap to almost cheap.
Here’s to enjoying the spirit of the season and remembering that giving doesn’t have to come wrapped in a box. The best gift is your time and your love.
Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!