It should come as no surprise that Christmas is the make or break season for the retail sector of our economy. With Halloween barely over, stores transformed with holiday decor begin their relentless push to buy, buy, buy. If you didn’t know what to buy, you could tune in on Thanksgiving to the three hour commercial extravaganza that is The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, broadcast on NBC for longer than I’ve been alive.
You’ve no doubt heard the complaint, “What do you get someone who has everything?” This speaks to the exasperation that we have all felt as Christmas goads us to purchase something, anything for a loved one so they have a gift to open – wrong size, wrong color, wrong idea? Doesn’t matter! You got to open something and hopefully the FedEx, UPS, or Prime delivery person survived the season without a nervous breakdown.
Is there an alternative to this Christmas induced chaos that you can feel good about AND really help someone you love? How about taking something from them: something that they struggle with, dread doing, or no longer have time for, and pay someone else to do it for them? This may require a bit of thought on your part – I doubt you’ll see it on a commercial, but removing a burden from a loved one may be far more meaningful than another sweater or book that they’re not really interested in reading.
Giving the gift of services can not only remove some duties that a loved one may no longer enjoy, but can help them to enjoy a healthier and better version of themselves. Gifts of services fall into two categories – services that help remove the tedium of maintaining things and services that may help to improve someone’s quality of life.
With more people than ever working from home with kids underfoot because of the pandemic, it’s not surprising that maintaining a home may take a backseat. Offering to pay someone to spend a day or two a month to help to clean the house could be a real help. A window washing service, lawn service, meal service, plowing service, or someone to clean the gutters can also free up time to do something a friend or loved one would find more enjoyable.
If their closets look like a bomb went off, consider a personal organizer or a closet designer. If they are time-pressed and have a pet, a dog walker or doggie daycare may be an appreciated gift or for some, or a series of dog training sessions.
There are a host of personal improvement gifts that can make a big difference in your loved one’s life. For those who are sartorially challenged, a personal shopper can be helpful for putting together a fresh outfit that makes them feel great. The services of a nutritionist, personal trainer, or masseuse can lift their spirits, as well as enhance their health.
So if you are at loggerheads about what to give someone for Christmas, step back and consider giving someone the gift of time, the gift of a healing hand, or the gift of health.
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Sister Emily Bloom December 16 2021