December 2, 2014

Reduce Holiday Stress with A Change of Perspective

The carols ring in a season to be jolly and full of cheer, but Christmas and holiday preparations can be very stressful. One of the commonly sited sources of stress is shopping. So here is a stress reducing look at, “The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Gift Giving.”

Or at least a guide to thinking about gift giving that may put gift giving and shopping into perspective.

"Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don't quite know how to put our love into words." 

- Harlan Miller

Okay shoppers here are a few things that may help you decide what to buy and when to do it.

  • If you want to give “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” that is a total of 364 gifts. Thinking of buying this for that special someone? It will cost $27,637 this year.
  • What is the favorite gift of the ultra-rich? Sweetheart I just bought you a plane!
  • 28% of Americans will regift a gift they receive this Christmas. Thinking of buying a tie? Think again, because ties are the most likely gift to be regifted.
  • Think Black Friday is a busy day in the stores? Decided to put it off, and avoid the crowds? Be aware the crowds are just beginning to build, as the Friday and Saturday before Christmas are the busiest shopping days.
  • Hey a gift card is the way to go! With the wide selection of graphic styles and options gift card giving has never been more exciting and fun. Gift card giving has increased 83% over the last 10 years. And just think a whopping $1BB of gift cards go unclaimed annually.
  • Ah, if you only had a plan. Women are more likely to have a plan as confirmed by the fact women will buy more gifts and spend less.
  • Surprise! Men are twice as likely to wait until Christmas Eve to purchase gifts. Don’t laugh so fast if you are single - you are three times more likely to wait until Christmas Eve.
  • Thinking about giving the big money? If you are single, you can give up to $14,000 per person. Married? You can give up to $28,000 per person. And not to worry, stay within these limits and you won’t affect the lifetime gift tax exemption of $5.34 million dollars. I hope you appreciate this suggestion.

What would “The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Gift Giving” really look like? It would change our focus, touch our hearts, ring loudly with compassion, and reflect a sense of gratitude.  Here are a few things you would find.

  • Sponsor a child’s development that is living in poverty. Compassion International or World Vision are great places to start.
  • Give your time, money, or resources to a local food bank or homeless shelter in your area.
  • Commit to adding $1 to every tip you give in 2015.
  • Volunteer your expertise or talent to help someone out who would pay you if they could afford it.
  • Support building strong families by making a gift to All Pro Dad.
  • Participate in Operation Christmas Child and provide a Christmas gift for a child that will meet some of their critical needs.
  • Care for the families of men and women who have lost their lives in service to our country. TAPS does a tremendous job of helping these families.
  • Look for an “Adopt An Angel” program in your area. You’ll get an opportunity to shop for gifts for a family who’s only gifts will be the ones you provide.
  • Check out "The Perfect Christmas Gifts" - 10 gifts you can give 365 days a year.

Ultimately, it is up to you and me.

By asking ourselves what we are ultimately preparing for, we might conclude we need to set our sights on a different finish line.

Just imagine the impact we can have on a world so desperate for the gift of love and compassion by simply changing our perspective about shopping for gifts.

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

—Jim Elliot

What one thing would you include as an ultimate gift?

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