In this season of anxiety over finding the right gift...or just something to show up to the party with, I thought some suggestions might be useful.
One of the things I like least about our culture is the necessity of gift shopping. Do not confuse this with the desire to find a gift for someone. It is the requirement one feels from the culture at large; the obligation our society demands to provide a gift for certain culturally designated occasions.
At this time of year, gift shopping seems to be at a frenzied pace, but it is an all-year event for Americans. When I become overwhelmed by the thought of finding a gift for every friend and relative I have, I get really agitated and wish I were a hermit. Its sad, really, to feel so much pressure to do something nice!
A couple of decades ago, when money was tight and my time even more so, I decided to sit back and reflect on each relationship I had in my life. In so doing, I was able to remember good times and conversations, and decided to give based on those. One of the comments I got a LOT was how delicious my cookies and breads were, especially fresh from the oven. It was then that I began the tradition of yule logs. I make cookie dough for most of my family and some of my friends. I roll it in plastic wrap so all they have to do is slice and bake for fresh-from-the-oven cookies. I usually just tie the ends with festive ribbon and I get big smiles from all recipients.
I know that sounds simplistic, but it really is the best gift from me. It wraps up my love, my effort and time, and the memory and thoughts of times we have spent together when I served them cookies at my house.
What do you do for the people you love that could make a great gift? Think about it. Maybe you can start a tradition too.