My parents and I have a special deal: no more birthday presents or Christmas kitsch. No more stuff we don't need that will clutter up our houses, get sold on eBay, or donated to Goodwill. Since 2012, we started a new tradition - give love to each other and to the world by making a donation in honor of our love for each other that will also empower dignity and opportunity for vulnerable women and children around the world.
Do we still celebrate with cards, messages of love and gratitude, and a special meal together (when possible)? Absolutely. Does my mom still buy me a Santa Claus decoration every year, as is our tradition? Yes.
But now every birthday or Christmas holiday is made even more special. It's the meaning, intention, and love that goes with giving that is most important. The best way that we can express that is to give something meaningful back to the world. And, if we want or need something for ourselves, we just buy it as and when we need it... which is great! No awkward pretending to like something you will just sell or re-gift to someone else. An extra bonus: a smaller carbon footprint.
So, this holiday season, I challenge each of you to give just one gift of love. It can be in honor of your love for a dear friend, favorite aunt, or just you. Whoever it's for, take a moment to feel joy and gratitude while giving it. That's what the holidays are all about.
Here are just a few ideas: http://www.gratitudealliance.org/gifts-of-love.html