Are you struggling to find meaningful gifts for your family this holiday season? Here are my favorite, 4 non material gift ideas for Christmas that will clearly tell adults and children alike that you love them!
Gift giving can be a challenge for many of us during the Christmas season. For some, it’s because money is tight and we don’t have extra to spend. And for others? It’s because our families have so much, we really can’t think of anything else to give without being overly extravagant.
For years, my man and I fell into the first category. Actually, that’s not quite true. We did have some money, but we were faithfully saving every penny so we could get a mortgage, buy land and build a small cottage in the countryside.
You might say for the first 7 years of our marriage, priorities kept us from spending money on anything except necessities.
Gifts were a luxury. And so one after another, birthdays, anniversaries and Christmases slipped by. And we found other ways to show our care for one another during special occasions and especially, during the holidays.
Many Christmases came and went without us having a single gift under the tree. And while I know this might sound unbearable to some, we learned there are many ways you can tell a person “I love you” without giving them a neatly wrapped package on Christmas day.
And sometimes, these things even meant more in the end. So I want to share 4 non material gifts you can give to people you love at Christmas!
Gift 1: Give Your Undivided Time and Attention
It’s becoming more and more obvious as I observe the immediate world around me: many of us don’t need more stuff in our lives. Sometimes, giving another person the gift of our undivided attention and time speaks louder than anything.
Get creative in how you present this gift, but offer that person _?_ hours of your time in the following month (be realistic). Be sure to schedule it in and make it happen.
Maybe this person enjoys talking over a favorite hot drink? Going on walks? Perhaps a child wants to you to join them in their favorite activity?
Whatever it may be, spend time with that person in a way that speaks to their heart. It’s a wonderful way to say “you matter to me.”
Gift 2: Show Your Love By Giving Someone an Experience
Experiences and memories are something we will carry with us forever, something no one can take away! So instead of giving a package under the tree, give your spouse or child the gift of an experience.
Everyone has something on their “bucket list” that they’d like to experience. You know? Something they don’t get to do every day? Something you could actually make a reality for them?
For an adult, it might be tickets to a symphony, concert or play.
Perhaps there’s a museum, gardens (like the Butchart gardens in BC, Canada), mountains, a body of water or something else that person would like to see?
It could even be a special trip to visit a friend or family member!
The gift of an experience can be as big (or small) as you can afford.
When it comes to children, ask them if there’s something they’ve always wanted to do. You might be surprised at the simplicity of their requests.
Maybe it’s a visit to the swimming pool, sleeping in a tent, riding a horse, holding a bunny or just going shopping with you. Who knows what goes on in their little minds! Just ask and listen. They’ll be happy to tell you. 🙂
Gift 3: Help Your Family Discover the Joy of Giving to Others
Instead of loading up your Christmas tree with gifts for yourselves, why not give to someone else in the community who has less and help your family find true joy in the process?
There are numerous ways you can give as a family (be sure to involve everyone in the process)
- pack a Christmas basket with dinner fixings and deliver it
- let children choose and wrap gifts to give to other kids with less
- invite someone into your home to share in a Christmas tradition
- secretly drop off gifts on someone’s doorstep
Give, and you’ll soon find that your family has received a special Christmas gift, the gift of joy!
Gift 4: Affirm and Appreciate Your Family
It’s easy to get wrapped up in gifts at Christmas, to get caught in the flurry of parties and gatherings. In the hustle and bustle, I sometimes forget to acknowledge and enjoy the most precious gifts I have: the people in my life.
“Just as we leave the effects of our work behind in results, we leave the effects of our interactions with people in their hearts, minds, and souls” (Henry Cloud).
Instead of of getting caught up in material things, remember express gratitude for the things you see and have in your family members.
This is a tradition my man and I share every year. About 2 weeks before Christmas, we set out our “jars.” And up until Christmas, we write one line sentences on little pieces of paper, expressing things we like, appreciate and enjoy about one another. These paper slips go into the jars and on Christmas day, we get to read through our little gifts of affirmation.
To do this in your own family, all you need are mason jars, magazines with Christmas images, tape, glue, colored paper and anything else you have on hand (yarn, ribbon, etc).
Mason jars are cheap and your children will have so much fun decorating their own jar! And once they’re finished, cut a stack of little paper slips that easily fit into your jars. Every morning (or evening) have everyone sit down and write their “notes of appreciation.”
And on Christmas eve or Christmas day, everyone gets to read through their notes privately or out loud in a group setting.
It’s a little thing. But it does make both adult and children’s faces shine a bit brighter on Christmas day.
There are lots of options when it comes to giving non material gifts at Christmas. But it does require more energy on your part. Simple though these things may be, it’s actually more difficult to give these types of gifts, because you actually have to lean into the other person.
You have to ask questions, listen and then act. It all requires time on your part. And that isn’t always easy to give.
But if you want show love to your family members in a non materialistic way this Christmas season, these are 4 ways you can reach into their hearts and let them know you really care.