Gifting Time

I was walking through the grocery store last night grabbing a few things for some holiday meals that I am going to be preparing and sharing over the next few days.  I was standing in front of the cocktail mixers and grabbed some spicy Bloody Mary mix and the young man behind me said, “Excellent choice.  This week is rough!”  “Yeah, I was thinking about going to work out tomorrow morning but I think I might start day drinking with a spicy cocktail instead, ” I replied, holding the bottle of mixer.  “The struggle is real,” He said.  I smiled, knowing exactly what he meant.  “Cheers,” I said as I put the bottle in my cart and continued my shopping.  The struggle is real…..  The holidays can be rough.

The holidays are stressful for lots of us for lots of different reasons:  finances, work, family, health, too many obligations…..  This week is rough.  Fortunately, this year for me isn’t too difficult; too difficult.  I am spending time with people I adore and doing things I enjoy.  Heck, right now the house smells like coffee and there is a sweet Little Red Dog smooshed up against my legs dreaming doggie dreams– isn’t that the definition of happiness?  Later I WILL be heading to the gym– something that I like to do.  Tonight I will be sharing a lovely meal with friends who are like family.  I’ll be spending tomorrow in lounge clothes watching movies and doing a little indulging with treats and bubbly.  Not a bad couple of days.

Yes, I do have a really great couple of days lined up, but that does not mean that this time of year stress-free for me.  As the young man in the grocery store said:  the struggle is real.  The holidays are stressful for lots of us for lots of different reasons:  finances, work, family, health, too many obligations…..  This week is rough.  It certainly doesn’t help that we are reminded about the holidays starting in September and October when retailers start hurling twinkly decorations and ads at us.  Don’t get me wrong, I am really looking forward to spending time with my friends this year, but there are definitely some “things” that are weighing heavy on my shoulders and hanging over my head, just like most folks.

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The holidays, and the typical stresses that come along with them do not make the life stresses any easier.  However, I feel like I’ve come to a point in my life where I just can’t keep up with all of it, all of the holiday spin, the commercialism, the obligatory events…..  Even more so, I feel like I shouldn’t have to keep up with all of it.  I do not want this to turn into a bah-hum-bug post, so I won’t talk about my stresses during the holidays (we can talk about that later, over cocktails.  who’s in?).

One of the obligatory holiday events that stresses out most of us is gift buying.  If you still have some people on your list for whom you need gifts, how about giving the gift of time?  Yes, it really is possible.  It is not very expensive and, for me, has really reduced one of the major stresses of the holiday season.  Here are some of my favorite ways to give time as a gift:

  1. One of the favorite gifts I’ve ever received was a photo of me and a friend on a great hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.  It was such a wonderful day!  She framed it for me and wrote a lovely John Muir quote on the bottom on the frame.  Our time together– in a frame.  I have used this idea– framed photos of friends and added a meaningful quote– a few times since my friend gave me this gift.
  2. Offer to babysit for relatives or friends so that they can get that much-needed afternoon or evening out (or even an overnight!).
  3. Does your friend have a dog but no kiddos?  Offer to pet sit for a weekend so that he/she can go away for the weekend.  Very often, the cost or stress on a dog of a pet sitter or a kennel may be the limiting factor of a getaway for some folks.  Having a friend who knows the house and the pet could be just what the get-away needs!
  4. Prepare a meal-to-go and bring it over to a friend’s house during the week after the holidays when you know they are stretched thin on time and exhausted from all of the holiday todos.  Leave it with them so that it’s ready to heat up whenever needed.
  5. Bake cookies.  Who doesn’t love homemade cookies?  Your time, some butter, flour, sugar, and a little love…….
  6. Has your friend been talking about painting her living room for months?  Write a note on a paint chip in a holiday card offering your time to help paint– and really mean it.  Set a date to actually do it.
  7. Prepare a meal for friends at home– in a style of a country that they want to visit.  Set a pretty themed table and invite them over.  Include an invite with a write-in date so that your friends can choose a time in a holiday card for some time in January or February.  Time with you over a home cooked meal…..
  8. Do you have some more ideas?  Please share in the comments!

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I do hope that your festive season is festive and as stress-free as possible.  Do take time for yourself!  Oh, and no, I am not day drinking today.

Cheers,  Schu

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