Alternative Ways to Give
This is the time of year when giving to others, whether to family, or to those less fortunate, is high on people's minds. People are shopping like crazy, trying to find the perfect "thing" for their loved ones. It's intense, it comes at the same time every year, and we still stress about it and run around shopping malls like rabid animals.
However this is also the time of year when many people are getting sick, feeling burnt out, and pretty depleted. Like I-Have-Nothing-Left-To-Give-and-Yet-I-Have-to-Figure-Out-How-to-Make-Everyone-Feel-Special....Yikes!
Here's a quick list of ways to give other than buying a thing and turning into crazy, rabid animals.
1. Your Smile. I kid you not, a warm smile from a loved one or a stranger can make someone's day. It's acknowledging their presence and offering them a bit of your loving-kindness. And it feels good too :)
2. Your Calming Presence. Again, underrated, but if you can hold your center amongst chaos, and model for those around you, you are giving a huge gift to everyone you come in contact with. Try it! You'll feel like a Jedi. (this does require the skills of patience, conscious presence, and calm breathing!)
3. Your Attention. Sometimes quality time is all a person wants. Especially loved ones. Be creative.
4. Your Knowledge. Teach a loved one a skill you have that they could benefit from. It can be as simple as how to use breathing to de-stress to how to play a musical instrument. You will be empowering them, which will feel amazing for you both.
5. Your Recipes. Ok, maybe not your extra special, secret recipe, but if there's a dish that someone you love always raves about, write out the recipe on pretty paper, maybe laminate it, and again, empower them with the ability to create something they adore.
6. Your Words. Got someone in your life who's really impacted you? Or want to let a loved one know how much they mean to you? Write them a poem, a letter, or a list of everything you cherish about them, or about how you met, or about how much they mean to you. For the loved ones struggling in life, perhaps a list of your favorite quotes or affirmations to help them feel better about themselves. I promise they will cherish this forever!
7. Your Service. Some people may just need a helping hand, for a myriad of reasons, and you offering yours can be really meaningful to them. Is there anyone in your life that needs help with house chores, yard management, their website, their social media, etc? Make them a coupon to redeem with you.
8. When all else fails, find a Giving Machine! This is actually a vending machine that allows you to pick items you can donate to different charities around the world or locally. Right now there's 10 of these machines around the world, including San Jose, CA!