© 2013 Kebba Buckley Button. World Rights Reserved.
Got stress over gifting? In our continuing series on beating holiday stress, you were no doubt expecting us to talk about your budget, when talking about gifting. Yes, that’s important. And many have found a budgetary haven in home-making or home-baking an array of holiday gifts. But your time is valuable, too, and that hand-done basket of cookies may have an actual cost higher than ordering cookies to be delivered. My family found a cookie product with our last name, “Cookie Buttons”, and we get them delivered to every household of relatives, in various flavors, with free shipping. One big order and we’re done! Except for the cards and calls, but that’s another column.
So let’s back up and ask a question no other writer has ever asked about holiday gifting: what standard are you setting with what you’re spending, either in time or money? Most people are on a budget, and they don’t have either the time or talent to spend a day and a half at holiday time, baking holiday goodies. And while you may think your generous gifts will be received with the same joy as that with which you selected or made them, here’s news for you: many people will feel bad when they open your gift! Why? First, because they’ve been too stressed to even get around to gift decisions yet this year, and they don’t have one for you, so now they feel GUILTY. Second, because your cookies are so gorgeous and always delicious, and you arranged them so beautifully on the seasonal platter, and their baking will never be up to that standard, so now they feel INFERIOR. Yes, most people’s self-esteem is very low!
A great bet is to quit gifting altogether, other than reasonable gifts for children of the family and seasonal food gifts for others. With relatives, ask them if they would like to exchange gifts this year. You may be surprised how fast they say, with relief, “[O]h, that would be great to skip it this year!” For the office, a plate of cookies or a fruit tray, set out in the breakroom, is perfect. For your book club or other circle of friends, agree on a maximum value for gifts. Do not go overboard, or you may set an uncomfortable standard. How will your out-of-work friend match that $70 pitcher you got her from the high end kitchen store? For the kids, set a budget and stick to it, or you will be setting a standard you’ll have to answer for in future.
The gifts most loved ones would really like from you are calls, your time, your companionship, and the sound of your laughter. Round up some friends for a concert, a special church service, or to meet at a restaurant or for drinks. Consider an impromptu New Year’s brunch, at your place or at a restaurant. Show them you care. Show them you want to be connected. Share your love and laughter.
This season, may you have the least possible holiday stress! Happiest holidays from UpBeat Living! And this year, may there be Peace on Earth.
● Kebba Buckley Button is the author of the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core (Second Edition). Keep this book with you constantly, to quickly recharge your Peace Within, with quotes, photos, and poems that take you directly there! Kebba is a corporate stress management trainer, and she also has a holistic healing practice.
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