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Celebrate Loved Ones - Give & Take With Kindness

Thanksgiving dishes are barely dry when the countdown begins. More of a holidaze than holiday, even if you try to drown out the noise, it's impossible to ignore the subtle undercurrent of pressure that permeates our culture; wrap those boxes. Get them ready. Sadly, when gift-giving turns stressful, it takes the fun out of the whole experience. And aren't the holidays, supposed to be you know, joyful? Imagine if you could take back December and reclaim it as a time for playfulness, love, and friendship.

Let the old cliché, “it's the thought that counts,” become your holiday mantra and embrace a mindful holiday. Here’s how...

Secret Centerpiece - Your Card  

Have you ever anxiously ripped off gift wrap in such a hurry, you forgot there was even a card, until you noticed a sad little envelope had fallen on the floor? It may seem like the card is an afterthought, barely worth of an “awww.” However, if you don't take full advantage of that little paper rectangle, you waste the chance to tell someone how they've affected your life. In turn, you cheat that person out of seeing you on another level; and maybe even more vital, you deprive them of feeling good about their own specialness. It’s also a timeless keepsake that can be treasured long into the future. Essentially, your card is priceless.

In a way, giving a handwritten card is the friends and family version of writing wedding vows… So take your time. Meditate on the person who will receive it… Think about how each relationship has brought vibrancy to your life. Was there a special or funny moment you both shared, and will always remember? Every aspect of the card matters. Consider tapping into your artsy side and create your own. Give yourself space to create. Remember, your words are the true jewels. Not the bauble under the gift wrap.

Meaningful Objects

The gift should be the embodiment of your card, an offering, given with a positive intention. Each person you give to is unique. Ponder your friend or loved one's favorite colors, hobbies, hopes and dreams. Consider the kinds of books and movies they enjoy. Imagine what they might want but wouldn't think to buy for themselves. It could be something as simple as a green sweater that brings his or her eyes. Or perhaps your friend loves Yoga, so you find an unusually beautiful yet comfortable buckwheat bolster pillow in our Crystal Cove Collection. Maybe your pal has been under stress lately, so you choose something self-care related, such as essential oils, aromatic candles, or a certificate for a plant-based facial.

Get Crafty

Think about doing something out of the gift box this year. It takes time, thought, and creativity to make your own present. Don’t shy away from the idea… After all, it doesn't have to be an impressionist painting or hand knitted cape. Although, it you have those talents, doesn't make sense to share them with those you care about? What are your gifts? Are you a terrific baker of luscious vegan cupcakes. Do you take unusual photographs and have an amazing Instagram feed? Is there a picture your friend especially loved? Or one that evokes their spirit? If so, have it printed, framed and matted with a personal inscription.

Trash or Treasure?

Ever since a certain unforgettable Seinfeld episode where Elaine, referred to Tim Whatley as a “regifter,” for recycling the label maker she gave him for Christmas and giving it to Jerry as a thank you present, re-gifting has gotten a bad wrap (no pun intended). But that was decades ago. And there are lots of positives to giving a gift a renewed life. An important: it's kinder to the planet, considering that Americans trash about 81 pounds of clothing each year. Plus, a recycled gift can be found in adventurous ways. Scour local flea markets. Underneath piles, you may unearth original artwork, antiques, and rare books, that you might otherwise be unable to find. All it takes is a little dusting off, and these treasures could be priceless to whomever is lucky enough to receive them. Another bonus: you may spend less money in the process. So instead of giving one gift, opt for two.

When it comes to giving an item of your own, there are drastically different opinions, ranging from Elaine's outrage, to the sentiment of receiving a family heirloom, passed down through generations. If there were a recurring theme to mindful gift-giving, it would be awareness. Unless it really is a beloved heirloom, when you judge the gift’s origins, you make the giving about you and your efforts. Instead, ask the questions: is this something my friend would enjoy? Can I visualize them having the item and being happy? At the same time, if you do give a gift that isn't new, make sure it's fresh looking, and wrapped with care. Remember, whatever you give is an offering and will retain your heartfelt energy.

Give and take are flip sides of the same coin: each involves a generosity of spirit. Just as it requires consideration to find items and write cards that convey emotion, it takes that same kind of positive energy to accept your own gifts. So always be sure to read each card. Let the warm intentions sink in. Holidays needn't be stressful. The ticking clock can serve as a reminder to practice awareness, and appreciate each moment. Instead of a chore, giving becomes a pleasure when it's done with authenticity. So release expectations of finding perfect objects. Instead, take solace in this time of reflection, kindness, and growth.



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