I post a message like this each year about this time, and those who feel the desire to tune it out should feel free. Still, I promise that I’m doing this without looking at the past iterations, so I may accidentally do something fresh and do it in the fresh way.
The “holiday season” is impending, with the first in the series falling this Thursday for my American readers. Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Years, and National Cupcake Awareness Month are all barreling down upon us. and on these, I have some advice:
- Don’t let it be about pressure. These holidays should be about joy, in various forms. Stressing out in an attempt to make the holiday perfect does not improve the holiday for you nor for the people you are trying to share it with. They want to share joy, not see you in stress. If that means doing less, if that means not doing the traditional thing, let that be.
- Don’t let it be about presents. Note that that isn’t saying “don’t let there be presents”, presents are fun, but they should not obscure or replace personal contact, the sharing, the thought of the moment.
- Charity can be a present. Most people want to see the world improve in some ways, and putting your money toward something that they would see as improving their world can be quite a gift. It may be a large thing – there are people who need food, refugees who need shelter, species that need saving, and so forth; tell them that you donated money to something that they cared about in their honor. Or it can be local and small – their school could use some new sports equipment, they’ve got a podcast they like listening to or a public radio or TV station that could use some support.
- Gifts of time are also of value. Know how to play the guitar? Your niece could use that. Have friends with a six month old child? Two nights of babysitting so that they can get out with each other again would be worth far more than copy of The Strawberry Alarm Clock’s Greatest Hit CD you were going to get them.
- There is much to be said for shopping locally. Buying things locally that you could also get online and when you could wait a couple of days before delivery helps ensure that the local store will be there later, when you need something else that day.
- If you’re buying gifts for people who don’t live nearby, there’s much to be said for ordering online, and having it delivered straight to them. It saves you the packing and the trip to the post office, at a time when the post office is particularly busy.
- The previous holds true even if you are traveling to see those people. In the past, we’ve certainly had presents pre-sent (see what I did there?) to the house where we were Christmasing, to be held in our names and wrapped once we arrived. It’s one fewer thing to lose, one less thing that we have to pack in the luggage and put through airport security.
- If you’re going to order online through Amazon, do me the favor of stopping by AAUGH.com and clicking on any of the book links there to get to Amazon. Even if you don’t order the book you clicked on, Amazon will credit me for sending you to their site. Payment from Amazon is the main thing that justifies all the time I put into the blog and the time and expense I put into getting the books to discuss…. and income from that has been heading downward for years, as people don’t pay as much attention to blogs, due to Facebook. (And if you’re following the blog via the Facebook posts, please realize that Facebook doesn’t show you most of them, it’s picking and choosing what you see, and it apparently chooses against things that have links to Amazon.) I’ve thought about putting out a tip jar, but that would seem wrong; if you have some money and want to thank me, give it to a charity that feeds people. I want to live in a world where no one goes hungry.
I hope that you enjoy your holidays, whichever ones are yours!