Meaningful Holiday Gifts
by Ana Palles
We are all looking for those creative Christmas or Holiday gift ideas and stocking stuffers that will make not only a unique gift, but an inspirational and meaningful gift for our loved ones and family. In this year of change and transformation, we are looking for ways to bring more substance and meaning into our lives, express gratitude and see our gift truly make a difference for someone. Here are some Holiday and Christmas gift ideas, some for homemade gifts that are free or almost free.
- Create a personal ceremony
- Collect Blessings
- Homemade Bath Salt Scrub
- The Gift of Touch
- Invest in Others
You’d be surprised at the number of people attending workshops learning how to bring more ceremony into their lives. Get some wonderful ideas on how to create simple blessing rituals from Tonja Reichley’s article on House Blessings Reichley’s article on House Blessings. Assemble a blessing kit of your own or pick up a useful stocking stuffer with beautiful incense gift sets from Shoyeido.
Write out your ceremony using a lovely piece of paper such as parchment or one you have decorated yourself with personal symbols, or write it on the first pages of a journal dedicated to life ceremony. Include a stone you find along a walk and which you bless for the person or tie a beautiful ribbon around a nice cup and gift it to be used as part of the ceremony.
In addition to our own cultural and religious ceremonies, we are rediscovering simple, home ceremonies to Create Sacred Space. Celebrate life transitions such as graduations, new mother and fatherhood, empty nest, and intentioned gratitude for our blessings. The gift of blessing ceremony is one that we use year round and for years to come when we live a more conscious life.
We don’t often know what we represent to others, and sometimes the emotion of it is too much for someone to voice. As a treasured holiday gift for a loved one, contact family members and friends to ask them for their favorite memory of the person, or the thing that they treasure most about them. Write these on small scrolls of paper and place them in a beautiful blessing bowl.
Another approach would be to collect questions that you’ve always wanted to ask the person. This is a really wonderful idea for an elderly family member because it gives them the opportunity to tell their life story. Remember to capture the answers to the questions on video or digital recorder. This can provide a family treasure to be gifted to family members.
I go through a lot of salt scrub . It helps to rebalance and clear the energy field. When you work with a lot of people, it is important for our mind body health to keep ourselves as cleared as possible.
Salt scrubs are easy to make and very useful. Take a nice full cup of coarse sea salt, add ½ cup of sweet almond oil and about 10 drops of essential oil such as lavender, rose or ylang ylang. You can also make a citrusy salt scrub by adding grated orange rind. Stir and package in a nice container. Since it is to be used in the bath, I would go with an unbreakable container. Tie a beautiful big ribbon around it and you have a truly enjoyable gift.
This is a gift idea that is a great investment in yourself and others. Take a Reflexology or Healing Touch class. Massage schools often offer a one day class on reflexology. Take the class and gift your family certificates for a reflexology session with you. Foot massage is an ancient practice and is very relaxing and restorative.
Likewise, Healing Touch offers two day Level 1 classes where you will learn a number of wonderful and useful techniques such as the Pain Drain, Mind Clearing, Chakra Connection and the wonderfully transformative Chakra Spread. Healing Touch was founded by Janet Mentgen, RN, BSN whose early work was with the U.S. Navy and then as an emergency room and home health care nurse. Janet saw the positive effect of touch while using various energy techniques and modalities. Remember that education is something that cannot be taken away regardless of economic conditions. Never hesitate to take every opportunity to invest in yourself.
Check out Healing Touch Training and Clinics in your area. It is an important and worthwhile gift.
Many of us don’t think of ourselves as teachers, but we all have something that we excel at. What is it that you enjoy? What do your friends always compliment you on? It could be your wonderful Christmas cookies, the birdhouses you made last year, or your organization and planning skills.
Create a class that you would like to teach, find two dates on the calendar that you can teach it, and then make up your gift certificates to gift family and friends. If you want to add something to the gift, include a lovely journal that they can use to take class notes or write the feelings and thoughts that the class inspires.
Prepare a lesson plan, some handouts and plan the flow of your class. This is a fun and valued Holiday gift. And one of the perks of giving this gift is the benefit that you will receive in creating and assembling your class content and materials. This is a profound and meaningful gift that keeps giving for years to come.
With so many of our military men and women deploying for lengthy tours of duty, the holidays can be very difficult for families. Reuniting after a 15 month absence can mean having to get to know one another again, and this can be particularly hard on the children.
A wonderful idea from Becky Hall is to gift a membership to the local Zoo or Museum. You can see the excitement on just getting out of the car at one of these wonderful attractions and often this is all it takes for kids to forget any awkwardness and get caught up in the adventure and discovery. The shared family experiences will be a wonderful way to ease the transition and make lasting memories.
Another nice gift idea for military families are gift certificates to the movies and to a fun restaurant in the area. I’ve also assembled my own wine and cheese basket including a nice variety of specialty cheeses and crackers that I've picked out myself.
Don’t forget that homemade treats are always welcome at this time of year, so a luscious handmade apple pie or some holiday cookies and fudge can really nurture the heart.
Since military families often move a lot, the gift of a beautiful and well made journal and a nice pen provides a way for them to write about their new surroundings, capture their thoughts and express their creativity.
Last, but not least, home basics such as bed linens make good gifts. A soldier I know who recently returned from his 15 month tour in Iraq has been saving his money to get nice, soft, high thread count sheets. Having a wonderful, comfortable bed to sleep in has been one of his top priorities. Newly married, this big, burly man with the clear eyes and the smooth face, stepped back and laughed softly when he said his troop called him Martha Stewart.
At this time of year especially, we focus our attention on our loved ones, our homes and remembering to enjoy those basic values that we treasure. Never pass up an opportunity for a loving kiss, remember to tell someone that you love them, and be thankful to fall sleep in a nice, warm bed.