Brilliantly Green Events & Education, oh my!!!
Greetings, secret santas & mistletoe mavens! The Black Friday Brouhaha is over but we still have a couple of weeks till Christmas, Hanukkah & Kwanzaa happen. Christmas is the worst offender of what I call the “Un’s” (unused/unwanted/unnecessary gifts). “How is that a sustainability problem”, you ask? After Christmas, those Un’s get trashed, or take up needed space in your house. If you really want to make gift giving simple and inspired, take a moment to read my “Guide to Gift Giving” for inspiration on how you can make your gift giving Chief Chica Verde-approved!
Holiday Gift Giving – Something they want
When I found out I was going to be an auntie for the first time, I vowed that I would always get my nieces and nephews 1 present they really wanted for Christmas. My reasoning was when I was little, I always knew what I wanted & needed but no one ever really asked me so I ended up with items that were nice, but weren’t really me. From the grandmother who I saw once every 3 years or so, I got such gems as baby barrettes when I was 16. My room became very crowded. I didn’t want to be that kind of auntie who gave those kinds of gifts because I never really got to know her nieces and nephews.
1 niece, 4 nephews & 16 years later, I still sit down with each one of them for a chat around November to find out what toy or goodie is tickling their fancy for the current year. They all know what we’ll talk about and they know their price limit. (That number has remained the same for 16 years.) The younger ones are still into toys but the older ones have progressed to other items like video games, make up & shoes as they’ve matured. I like the idea that my gift is something they truly want and will use.
It worked so well with the kids that I began applying the same gift giving ideas to adults in my life. Now all of my family members get to tell me what they really want (under the price limit). It’s a real lifesaver when it comes to the guys! LOL Let’s face it, no adult male wants Santa Claus toilet paper, or a reindeer hat. They want things like flashlights and drills & BBQ tongs.
Holiday Gift Giving – Something They Need
While I’m talking to the niece, nephews and other family members about what they want, I also find out what they need. I’ve got a nephew growing so fast that every time Christmas rolls around, he’s grown out of his pants, a niece who goes through shoes like she’s got 8 feet, & my mom and sister are always needing towels and other household items.
Holiday Gift Giving – The Gift of Your Time
When you are a kid, especially in a big family, getting one on one time with an aunt, uncle, or grandparent is a rare thing. And unfortunately, even if you’re too busy to realize, kids grow up & you don’t get to go back in time and do it over. Even when our Christmas is insane, I always make sure that when the kids are around at the holidays, Mr. G (or Uncle Erich) and I spend quality time with each kidlet. We ask them what they’d like to do with our hour long “dates”. Sometimes their answers surprise you but they love being able to choose.
Mr. G is the person the boys like to take on when it comes to Chess, Stratego, and other board and card games and they invented a game around him called “Ogre Claus” which as far as I can tell, consists of him chasing them up and down the stairs then hiding and surprising them when they go looking for him. I read with my little nephews, go into quiet rooms to talk about my niece’s latest boyfriend, take the older nephews to video game stores to window-shop, etc. And there’s usually one or two holiday activities for the whole family like decorating gingerbread houses & driving around looking at Christmas lights.
We try to get one on one time with each of the adults as well. Whether it’s a walk with Mom or fishing with Dad or a brother in law, those times are really important. Life is unpredictable and you never know when a one on one will be your last.
Holiday Gift Giving – A Good Deed
We’ve started adding a charitable element to our niece and nephew’s Christmas. They help us decide a good cause to donate to, whether it’s adopting a family or donating to worthy causes like World Wildlife Fund or Heifer International. This activity brings us closer and makes them realize that helping others is truly what we’re put on this planet to do.
As I said in the beginning of this article, this is the gift model I’ve practiced for 16 years & it truly makes our holiday full of love, laughter & memorable moments. I hope it helps you as well. Especially with the events of the past 2 months, we all need to be celebrating the things that make our heart happy like charity, family time and friends. Have a blessed & peaceful holiday & we’ll see you in January. This is Melissa Wagner-Gens, Chief Chica Verde & your brilliantly green event expert wishing you “Brilliantly Green Gift Giving”!