With only three weeks until Christmas, the gift shopping season is well underway. As stores set up their window displays with gift bundles and our inboxes fill up with suggestions for finding the perfect present for our friends and family, there are other, healthier and more sustainable ways we can show our loved ones how much we care this festive season.
One of the most meaningful gifts you can give someone is your time and attention. As simple as it may seem, the power that this has for the mental wellbeing of those around you can be invaluable. As lockdowns have ruled so many of our lives for so long, reaching out and reinforcing genuine connections with one another can be the most soulful way of spreading the Christmas spirit of coming together.
To complement your traditional gift-giving rituals this Christmas, we invite you to keep in mind the following ways in which you can make a meaningful impact on your loved ones this December, or any other time of the year.
Steps to meaningful gift your time and attention
Pick up the phone
More than a courtesy call on Christmas Day: making the effort to check in throughout the month and creating a pattern of regular communication may mean the world to someone you love. Life sweeps us along and it can be all too easy to lose touch with our nearest and dearest. At a time when the absence of loved ones may be felt most, simply reconnecting can be the most valuable way of showing your care and appreciation. Even a quick chat could make someone’s day that much brighter.
One of the simplest notions, yet it can be the most difficult to master – especially at this time of year! Although it’s a busy time for everyone, the conscious effort to set aside our to-do list for a conversation with a friend, family member or co-worker can be a powerful way of showing support and lifting their spirits.
Though, as we mentioned, this is often easier said than done. Some ways in which you can help yourself be more grounded in the moment with someone include:
- Switch your phone onto silent and keep it face down. Out of sight, out of mind.
- Give yourself a break before interacting with someone. Let your mind slow down and process one thing at a time before dedicating your attention to something else.
- Do something new together if you are meeting in person. Go for a walk, cook a meal together, try a new cafe. This can also help keep any outside distractions at bay.
- Practice active listening. Maintain eye contact, give verbal cues of recognition, reflect on what they have told you and withhold judgement.
Share the load without taking it on
Christmas is not a joyous time of year for everyone. Although you want to create a safe space for them to share and seek your help, the solution is not to then take on their burdens as your own. Simply being present and willing to listen is doing your part to alleviate their stress.
There’s more than one way to demonstrate that you’re there for someone and offer your support. This may include:
- Physical actions: Take them out to coffee or lunch, or perhaps a walk through nature to help them disconnect and recharge.
- Physical contact: Holding their hand through a difficult time or just giving a hug can mean the world to someone.
- Answering the call: Hold space when they call and want to talk. This may not always come at the most opportune time, but your help in their time of need will mean the world.
- Acts of kindness: Taking special care to go above and beyond for someone without them needing to ask. For example, purchasing a journal in which they can express themselves and gain clarity on their state of mind.
Tap into your creative side
It’s not always the price tag that indicates the value of a gift. In fact, the thoughtfulness of channelling your time and energy into creating a homemade gift speaks volumes of how much that person means to you.
Channel your efforts into something that reflects your unique creative side, no matter what that may be. This may be as literal as a work of art, or you could bake their favourite treat, create a photo album, personalise a mug or write out a collection of cards with reasons for why you’re grateful for them. The possibilities are endless, and the personalised touch may mean more than anything you could pick up from a store.
Bonus: The gift of health and wellness
A present that promotes wellbeing offers a chance for personal growth and is the perfect way to complement the meaningful gifting of your time and attention. This is a gift that keeps on giving, potentially providing long-term benefits beyond the initial exchange. Think of something that may help instil positive rituals or promote self-care, such as a gratitude journal, a pass to their local Pilates studio, or a recipe book for clean and creative meals.
If you know someone who is in need of a complete break away from their everyday life, we now provide Eden Health Retreat Gift Certificates, allowing you to contribute towards a restorative stay at our five-star luxury retreat. As of 2022, we have three-night, four-night and seven-night stay retreats available to suit any goal and lifestyle – whether it’s a quick reset and recharge or a longer escape.
To purchase a Gift Certificate today, click here.
As we begin the festive flurry of gift planning and Christmas shopping, taking a timeout to give some time to your loved ones may be the greatest gift of all. Checking in regularly and letting the people around you know that they’re in your thoughts are powerful ways of spreading the love this Christmas and making your nearest and dearest feel special.