As we enter the holiday season, I find myself considering ways of giving that minimizes the shopping carts, credit cards, and transient material items. I am not diminishing the practice of traditional gift giving. There is nothing like watching the joy on our children’s face as they open their gifts on Christmas morning, or Hanukkah evening, or whenever the celebration calls for gifts. And I certainly believe there is no such thing as too many cozy socks or warm fleece blankets.
But I have been thinking about what I can do for my kids that may be a little more sentimental. Things that may capture my love in a different kind of package. Here are some ideas that I think are worth sharing.
1. Begin a journal
I have started a journal for each of my children. In this journal I have written to them on each birthday, holiday, or any special moment in between. I have also recruited the important people in their life to write to them. What better way to say, “I love you” than in the countless love letters written among the pages! It’s a perfect gift to start now and give later.
2. Save some baby clothes
I recently went to a baby shower where there were cute baby clothes used as décor. Later it was revealed that these clothes were once the clothes of the pregnant mama. The cute little outfits were saved and kept in great condition by the guest of honor’s mom just for that moment when she could pass them along to her grandchild. It was such a sweet offering to both her daughter and future granddaughter.
3. Save those recipes
Aside from the visual aesthetics of a cozy fire and warm lighting, nothing says holiday season like the smell and taste of your families’ favorite foods. We continue to make dishes from our own grandparents and tell stories about them while preparing and enjoying the meal. Passing along recipes that have been in the family for generations, or starting new traditions around food, is a gift that will be remembered and desired for years to come.
4. Symbolic ornaments
I grew up celebrating Christmas with a friend and her family. I always admired their huge tree and beautiful decorations. Every year, they got a new ornament that was symbolic of something momentous that occurred that year and placed it towards the top of the tree. The tree would tell a story of this family’s life from the bottom of the tree to the top, beginning with the very first birthdays to drivers’ licenses, to graduations, to weddings, etc. This is a tradition I have now started with my own family. It’s so fun to unravel these special ornaments each year and reminisce about the highlights of our lives!