“Wow. It’s already December,” said no kid ever. 

Yet this has been said by pretty much every adult on the planet (well, at least by those that follow the standard calendar in the US, and/or the end of the year holidays).  

This is obviously a natural experience of getting older and feeling like time just seems to move faster the older you get—whereas it was slow as molasses when we were little. I’ve got all kinds of theories about time and space, but we’ll leave those for another “time.” (Ha ha. Yes, I know. I’m full of amazing puns.) 

Besides the abnormally quick passing of time as we age, the other thing that the statement “It’s already December” brings up for most is about both the pressures and delights of the holiday season. 

For many, Christmas is a cherished time when we get to see family members we don’t normally see, and that itself feels like the best gift on the entire planet. 

However, I know many others who dread Christmas because it’s a time when they feel the lack of friends and family. As the media spoon feeds us all that we “should” be happy and “should” spend lots of money right now, etc. there are some who will inevitably not be able to follow those “shoulds.” They aren’t so lucky to be surrounded by friends and family and presents, and Christmas feels like the loneliest time of the whole year. They may not have much money, and Christmas feels more stressful than joyful. I don’t share any of this to be a downer; I share it so that you can remember to invite them over, to include them in your family, to bake an extra dish for someone who might need a little extra love. I think we can agree that we could all use more Love. 

And I think we could all use a little reminder about shopping and money. You don’t need another article telling you that most people’s finances are not what they used to be. Instead, I want to encourage conscious gifting this year. What is conscious gifting?  (No clue. Just made it up. Kidding. Kinda. Being silly. Ignore my silly antics and just keep reading.) Conscious gifting is what you think it means—putting some extra thought into the presents you share this year. As many of our moms used to say, “It’s the thought that counts.” It really, really is the thought that counts! It’s not about the money and how much you spent, and it’s not about just putting as many wrapped boxes under the tree and maxing out your credit cards. Let’s please be more conscious than that—acquiring more debt doesn’t help anyone. If this has been your pattern over the years, I urge you to try something different this year. Instead of going for fancy, how about something more thoughtful, something more caring and deliberate? 

Here are some ideas for a more Conscious Christmas season: 

  • Shop Small!!! Small businesses have been impacted more than ever in the past two years. If you are wanting to spread some love and cheer and have some money to spend, this would be a great place to start. 
  • Support the creatives. This is another group that’s been hit quite hard financially. There are some absolutely incredible artisans in the area. You can either contact them directly and purchase some of their wares from local shops or online places like their website or Etsy, where the money goes directly to them. 
  • Make your presents. I know the hats I crocheted for friends last year weren’t as fancy as the ones they could have bought elsewhere, but I took the time to crochet them. Those people were important enough to me that I took the time to make something for them. Whether they liked the hats or not (LOL), it is the thought that counts. It says, “Hey, I love you, and I’m willing to use my time to do something specifically for you.” 

Some other homemade present ideas: 

  • Bake a pie
  • Paint a picture
  • Offer a service for free or at a discounted rate
  • Take a friend on a picnic as their gift
  • Do their laundry, wash their car
  • Send them a piece of coal as a joke
  • Make them a gratitude jar
  • Make them a jar with all the fixings for your favorite hot chocolate recipe
  • Propagate some plants and make little baby plants for your neighbors
  • Take them on an adventure
  • Create a treasure hunt with fun clues
  • Cook someone dinner
  • Invite your solo friends over so they aren’t alone on these celebratory days
  • Make a coupon book of fun, simple things like “doing the dishes, giving a hug, taking out the trash…” 

There are so many great ideas!  Let’s make a giant list together that we’ll share in the upcoming issue. Please send your Conscious Christmas ideas to ConsciousChristmas@TopangaNewTimes.com