12 Days of Christmas - All I want for Christmas Is You!
Updated: Dec 17, 2021
It’s that time a year again! The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is in full swing. To some, It’s the “most wonderful time of the year”. To others, maybe not so much.
The last couple years have been really tough on a lot of people. Between illness due to Covid, business shutdowns, and jobs lost, people have been shaken to the core. Their safety and security with health and finances have been shattered.
For others, financial insecurity is just a way of life.
I, for one, have raised my 4 daughters alone. Living paycheck to paycheck, blessed to just have my bills paid. There was no extra. Then, you throw Christmas into the mix. The “most wonderful time of the year”, turns into a season filled with stress, anxiety, depression, and fear. Guilt over not being able to give them enough of the “things” that they want. Burned out from having to hustle even harder to make it happen, and constantly up in my head trying to figure out a way to make 1 day a success. Not present in the moment, and completely out of touch with the reason for the season.
I asked my oldest daughter the other day what she wanted for Christmas. She’s a single mother too, with 3 beautiful boys. Her response broke my heart. She asked if I could just pay a bill for her. I feel that! To just relieve a little bit of the stress, and the weight that she carries on her shoulders.
I wanted to try to reel it back in. To focus on what’s really important, and get back in touch with the true spirit of the season.
So, I posed the question to some friends and fellow bloggers:
What is a gift that you can give for Christmas that doesn’t cost any money?
Here are their responses...
1. Acts of Service
Jennifer from dinkumtribe.com wrote:
I have given a coupon book full of acts of service or quality time gifts to my children, or to my husband. For kids, it will be things like: "1 night when you get to pick the family movie"; "1 board game with Mom"; "1 visit to the park"; "1 day with no chores". For my husband, it’s things like: "1 meal that you choose that I can make for you"; "1 foot massage"; "1 day of me taking out the trash"; "4 hours of me watching the kids while you go do something you love to do". These are gifts that cost time and energy, but not usually money.
Something so simple goes a long way towards letting the special people in your life know that they are valued.
2. A Listening Ear
Payton is a clothing designer and YouTuber who documents her travels and adventures. She wrote this:
I heard something the other day that said: You can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone. One thing that I can give for Christmas this year that doesn’t cost a cent, is a listening ear. No distractions. Not half listening, just waiting for a pause so that I can respond and talk about myself. My full attention. To create a safe space for someone to release their thoughts and emotions. Christmas time is full of happiness and joy for most. But as the days get shorter and darker, it’s important to check on the people you love. I would grab some old blankets, some candles, and a deck of cards and just give myself and good company to a friend for Christmas. A few hours of talking, laughing, playing cards, and giving my full attention.
A day of happiness, serotonin, and memories, is far more important than any material gift I could give or receive. Love would be my gift if I had no money. Love and time.
3. A Home cooked meal
Chloe is a personal finance blogger at offhourhustle.com. Here’s what she had to say:
Save yourself some money this year and invite a family friend over for a home cooked meal. There's not a single person who won't appreciate good food! Alternatively, bake them a warm loaf of banana bread or chocolate chip cookies. These ideas cost virtually no money and make a universally great gift for anyone from friends, family, to co-workers.
Name: Chloe Choe
Blog Name: Off Hour Hustle
There are many people out there that don’t have family around. This simple gift will let them know that they matter.
4. Gifts of Experience
Eva blogs about sustainable living. She wrote:
As a parent, teacher, and sustainable living blogger of Simple n’ Delight, I do my best to find gifts that come from the heart and help our planet in the process. Our lives become so busy around this time of year, and so I find that the gift of time is so very appreciated.
Our homemade advent calendar for December is filled with simple little experience gifts that cost nothing but time. Every day leading up to Christmas, the children (aged 7 &8) open a little door to a note with the activity of the day. Some of the activities include writing a letter to Santa, taking a tour around the neighborhood to see the lights, playing a board game, or watching a Christmas movie. The children appreciate these moments so much since it is usually so difficult to find the time to pause, sit, and carve out the time to enjoy each other’s company.
5. Gift of Self - Love
Katrina is a Trauma Transformation Coach specializing in childhood sexual abuse. I love what she wrote regarding the best gift we could ever give ourselves.
Self-love is the best gift you can give yourself that will bring you daily pure joy even after Christmas is over. It is a gift that not only allows you to love yourself fully, but it enhances the quality of love you give to others. Self-love goes beyond the momentary happiness that self-care brings, it is a sensation or emotion and action that has the capabilities to last a lifetime. Read more about how to develop self-love this Christmas.
When you learn to love yourself, only then can you spread that love around to others.
6. Gift of the Arts
Diana is founder of The Joyful Dabbler, a blog and Youtube channel dedicated to helping others live a more mindful and peaceful life, through meditation, intentional living, and physical wellness practices.
A Simple, From-the-Heart Artistic Endeavor
Why not show your loved one how much they mean to you with a bit of creative flair? You could make up a silly song, full of fun anecdotes and memories. Or leave out the music and recite a heartfelt original poem, recounting all their wonderful qualities. Get others involved as well by putting together a skit, all about magical moments with your loved one. You don’t need to be a professional: as long as you put forth the effort and aim to simply have fun, it will be a smashing success! Then on Christmas Day, showcase your talent and let that person really see how much you care!
7. A Christmas Message
Baking from the heart
Everyone loves holiday treats, so how about making an extra-special sweet gift? Bake your loved one’s favorite cookies; then make it even better with a message to tell them you care! Use icing to form one letter on each cookie, and arrange the cookies to convey the perfect greeting. If you’re feeling extra creative, try cutting each cookie into the shape of a particular letter prior to baking. (This works best with sugar cookies or others that involve rolling out dough.) Then after they’re done, arrange the letters accordingly. This can be great spelling fun for kids as well, after the Christmas message has been displayed, of course!
I have a few ideas myself…
8. Calming Spaces
I’m very good at creating clean, comfortable, calming spaces. Not everyone is, and that’s ok. Everyone has different strengths. I know for me, when my space home is cluttered and in disarray, so is my mind. I can’t think straight. So, a gift I can give this Christmas that doesn’t cost money is a clean, organized, beautiful space. That way, they can feel more relaxed, and focus on what’s truly important to them.
9. The Gift of Presence
A gift I could give to myself, and others is the gift of presence. More than ever, people are lost in thought. Regrets of the past and the fear of the future steal our time, energy, and joy. Technology only adds to it. I can’t tell you how many times I watch a family out to dinner at a restaurant, staring at their phones or tablets the entire meal. It’s very sad. The present moment is all that we have. It’s the doorway through which true happiness resides. I feel like one of the best gifts that I could give to someone and myself this Christmas, is the gift of presence.
10. The Gift of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a gift that can be given anytime of the year. I’ve made a ton of mistakes in my life. Others are no different. Holding on to anger and resentments, and keeping score only creates suffering…for myself and others. It creates disease in the body and mind. I can’t forgive others though until I learn how to forgive myself. We all deserve a little kindness and mercy. Learn how to cultivate compassion, and LET GO!
11. Peace of Mind
Give yourself a break! A day. An hour. Even a moment, free from that highly critical voice in your head that tells you to keep going! You haven’t “done” enough yet today to deem yourself worthy. You haven’t checked off everything on your to do list yet. I’m gonna say this loud and clear for those in the back…LET-IT-GO! That voice will NEVER stop cracking the whip. Stop listening! You are a human being, not a human “doing”. The laundry will still be there tomorrow. Just for today, let it go, and do something instead that brings you joy.
12. The Gift of Appreciation
This Christmas, give someone the gift of acknowledgement and praise. Unfortunately, a lot of people you encounter don’t have great self worth. Lift their spirits by letting them know that you see them. Praise them for their effort, not for the results. For instance, praise your child for how hard you see them studying for that exam. Not for getting an A+ on the exam. Results can’t be controlled, but effort can. So, let them know that you see them, and that you appreciate their effort.
It’s fun to rip off the wrapping paper, open up a box, and receive something new and unexpected for Christmas. But those things only leave a momentary impression for the giver and the receiver. Giving of your time, effort, and energy leaves a more lasting impression. These are the priceless gifts that keep on giving for years to come.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a safe and happy New Year!
As Always, Love, Light, and Happiness…Valerie