There’s something in the air this Christmas season.
And I don’t mean the vocal stylings of Bing Crosby, or the Salvation Army bells ringing on the corner. (Those things are in the air too. Obviously.)
I mean, this year, it seems like more people than ever are OVER the holidays. Like, the whole sense of obligation is just weighing us down.
Obligation. To travel all over creation to see your family (who never come to see you, by the way.) Obligation to spend money you may not have on gifts that may or may not feel meaningful to you. Obligation to spend all afternoon cooking for the work potluck you don’t even want to go to.
It’s taxing on an already-taxed out psyche, this whole Christmas deal. And it’s more than just the usual overbooking and excess cookie-eating.
No, something really stinks about this Christmas. And I don’t like it. I’m taking Christmas back.
(And I’m starting by eschewing the politically correct term “holidays.” I know not everyone celebrates Christmas. This is my first act of rebellion.)
Maybe Christmas will feel a little less obligatory and more joyful, if we focus on giving — and receiving — well-thought-out, emotionally resonant, AWESOME friggin’ gifts.
And by “awesome,” I don’t mean “expensive.” Sure – some of the things on this list cost money (the most expensive thing is $75). Some of them take a lot of time and effort to pull off. But ALL of them are meaningful. ALL of them will rock someone’s world.
And a few of them? You might even like to add to your own Christmas list.
The Abundant Yogi’s Ultimate Gift Guide for 2015
Give Christmas to a family who can’t afford it.
And remember — “affording” it is not just about the money. The time, attention and effort required to pull of Christmas (especially when there’s kids involved) is no small feat. Taking this off someone’s plate is the BEST GIFT EVER. A close friend going through a divorce? A co-worker whose husband just got a cancer diagnosis? Or look into local women’s shelters and see what you can do to help.
This is my favorite one on the list. You can get the whole family involved! Very Tiny Tim.
Use Christmas as an excuse to start knitting / making candles / get rid of extra Mason jars.
Homemade gifts trump money gifts any day of the week (and twice on Sundays). And you can learn to do ANYTHING on the YouTube these days. Two years ago I knitted a hat for my two-year-old niece. It was lumpy and uneven and freaking adorable. She’s two; what does she care?
Dry mixes for soup or cookies, layered in a Mason jar and tied with a nice ribbon and handwritten instructions, work well too.
Okay, some money gifts are pretty darn cool. Yogi Surprise is a monthly subscription to a box full of, well…surprises. Yogi-lovin’ surprises. And we’re not talking sample sizes either. The boxes are stocked with high-end products — nutrition bars, body butter, hand towels, that kind of thing — you’d love to have, but would never buy for yourself (which is, by the way, the definition of a good gift.)
This one’s a candidate for your own Christmas list.
A few months ago I went on an epic search for the perfect yoga mat…and I found it! The Jade Harmony mat is just the right amount of sticky — it holds up in my 94° flow class, no towel needed — and it’s made from natural rubber, no weird synthetics. Plus they plant a tree for every mat sold. Winner.
Set up “Command Central” for a busy mom (or entrepreneur).
I got this idea from my sister-in-law, who recently set up a Family Organization Center in her kitchen. (I like Command Central better.) She has:
- A whiteboard calendar of the whole month, with relevant appointments, after school activities, and other notables.
- A chalkboard displaying the menu for that week, with “Today’s Dinner” at the top.
- A second chalkboard, split into four quadrants, each representing a store they frequent (Whole Foods, Sam’s Club, etc.). In each quadrant, a family member can write the items they’ll need from each of those places next time they go shopping.
- A wall-mounted file-holder for each family member. The kids put their homework in there, plus handouts and permission slips. Mom and Dad use them as “inboxes” for all mail and important paperwork.
You don’t need kids for this to be a lifesaver. In my family of two (plus cat), Command Central would solve 90% of the daily communication issues we face. Who fed the cat last, what’d we do with the car title, which weekend we’re traveling to see my sister…
You can find a nice example (plus tutorial) over here.
Homemade mat cleaner.
Your yoga-inclined friend probably knows that homemade mat cleaner is easy to make, gentler on the mat than whatever spray cleaner she has under the sink, and non-toxic. But has she taken the time to make it? No. Probably not. Because people are busy and if you don’t have witch hazel on hand? Fuck it.
Simple recipe (for non-stick mats):
- White vinegar
- Distilled water
- Lemon juice
Fill a spray bottle ¾ full with water, then add ? tsp vinegar and a few drops of lemon. Shake well.
For regular (closed-cell) mats:
- Distilled water
- Witch hazel
- Essential oils (whatever you like — peppermint, rosemary, lavender, etc.)
Prepare same as above, swapping out the lemon in favor of essential oils.
I got this recipe here.
Simple, perfectly-sized coffee mugs with mantras on the inside and people doing yoga poses for the handles. Right??
Have a non-boring, non-gift-card idea of your own? Share that shit in the comments!
And there you have it. Thoughtful? Check. Useful? Double check.
Rediscovering the true meaning of Christmas?
I think we’re getting warmer.