Last week the article was on Simple Steps to Stop Stress and this week we will add to those ideas by learning Creative Gift Giving for the holidays.

With the realities of a sluggish global economy and habits of buying so much stuff it is easy to see why many people are feeling stressed for the holidays. With a little creative energy and mental focus you will discover Creative Gift Giving which includes simple steps to stop stress and Do It Yourself (DIY) gift giving.

The holidays are especially stressful due to being bombarded by excessive advertising and the pressure to spend money for decorations, gifts, foods, treats, trees and travel. With all the pressures mentioned in the previous article it is easy to see how people can easily become over stressed and over whelmed. This can take the fun out of the holidays and turn them into even more work and things to do on top of our already too busy lives.

One of the best ways to reduce stress and stop spending so much money is to stop buying all the stuff that is being promoted. We are consuming too many things and many of them are wasting precious resources and creating more waste. Are you aware of the massive brainwashing that occurs to encourage children to demand more stuff. Parents must watch Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood where this process is so very well documented.

Watch the Full Consuming Kids Film

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Many of the toys being purchased for children are made with toxic paints, petroleum products and plastics. Why would you want to spend so much money on something harmful to children when you can give them the gift of adventure, creativity, education and quality time with cultural events and fun family outings.

41 Creative Gift Giving Ideas

Kids Learning About PlantsHere is a list of simple steps to stop stress by focusing on creative gift giving:

  1. Give gift cards for massage sessions. Most people love a nice massage. You can use a hand held roller model, rubber balls or Swiss balls to assist you in loosening up those tense muscles. Give a great massage and maybe you will receive one back.
  2. Offer to watch children or grandchildren during the day or evening so the parents can enjoy some time out to run errands or a night out.
  3. If you have a particular skill you can offer to share it with others in one or multiple hour blocks. (cooking lessons, canning foods, exercise tips, replace light bulbs, repair lamps, computer skills, photography, digital picture editing, yoga, electrical work, fitness, painting, gardening, jewelry making, landscaping, yard work, sewing, organizing, websites, dancing, writing, copywriting, repair toys etc)
  4. Thrift stores often have real bargains that others no longer need and you can help someone by being on the lookout for particular items.
  5. If you buy or rent a DVD you could share it with family and friends.
  6. Wash and vacuum the car. This is a great idea for children to share with parents.
  7. Offer to take the children or grandchildren camping, fishing or hiking.
  8. Create a coupon book that can be redeemed to read books to children. Making a digital MP3 or MP4 recording while reading to the children allows them to play it over again and again.
  9. Make healthy meals and treats instead of junk food and sugar deserts.
  10. Use a dehydrator to make some healthy fruit roll ups or dried fruit snacks.
  11. Collect flower seeds to plant in pots or gardens. (Check the laws)
  12. Start some trees from seeds and give fruit or nut bearing trees as gifts. Teach children the value of planting trees for our ecosystem.
  13. Cut some ivy runners and start new ivy plants to give as gifts.
  14. Make some arts and crafts or decorations that others have shown an interest in. Scrap lumber can be made into Christmas decorations and toys. Several times over the years these wood working projects took on a special meaning for me and my children. We still use the wooden Santa Claus figures.
  15. Build some wooden bird houses and hang then in your yard or green spaces. Plant some flower beds for butterflies and humming birds.
  16. Did you know you can make wooden games and tables such as a bean bag throw, ring toss, train board, treasure map and bullseye to help with eye and hand motor coordination.
  17. Cards, checker boards and chess are great for mental development.
  18. Offer to guide people at the museum, park or other areas of interest.
  19. Invite people to a special monthly theme dinner. Decide on different countries and then search for recipes of the different cultures.
  20. Visit someone in a hospital or nursing home and brighten their holidays. Have the children help make some gifts to share also.
  21. Do you have any clothes, sports equipment or toys that your children no longer use? Donate them to a charity, church or thrift store so others can enjoy them.
  22. Share books and magazines to save money and help reduce paper waste and save trees. Buy and trade used books. Find copies of “Think and Grow Rich” and the “Richest Man in Babylon” and give them to your children. These books can help change their destiny.
  23. Grow organic foods such as fruit, greens, herbs and vegetables to share with your family and friends. Harvest wild edible plants and share them with family and friends.
  24. Find ways to recycle glass, metal and plastic containers for storage. Coffee cans, plastic jugs and jars are good for storing foods, seeds and spices.
  25. Give coupons which are redeemable to carry groceries or take out the trash (without complaining). Or create honey-do coupons. What about offering to clean the garage or patio? A garage sale could generate money for food gift baskets.
  26. Have you thought of teaching someone a skill or tip to improve their life? Maybe you are good at cooking, gardening, investing, music, saving money or using a juicer.
  27. You can donate time to help at a charity or non profit organization.
  28. Donate blood for someone in need.
  29. Encourage children to draw pictures, create picture albums and write poetry for family and friends.
  30. Create a digital photo album of family activities and events. Copy old family movies and pictures onto DVD and share with the family. My daughter did and it is one of the best gifts ever.
  31. Learn about vision boards and teach the other family members how to create one for the New Year.
  32. Learn about Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) online and then teach it to others to help with peak performance and self growth.
  33. Download a free program like Skype and make some calls to distant friends or relatives you have not seen in many years.
  34. Go for a nature hike or ride bicycles to a community park. Find a book on birds and go bird watching. Pack a lunch and take a hike to enjoy a picnic at a park.
  35. Find a free musical concert or movie screening in your community. Or you can host a screening of an educational or environmental movie to raise community awareness.
  36. Create a family business or website to generate additional revenue and use that money for an environmental project or eco-vacation. Children can learn the value of being an entrepreneur and develop valuable skills.
  37. Participate in a clean up or tree planting project in your town. Encourage city councils to replace dead or diseased landscaping with native food bearing bushes, trees and vines.
  38. Offer to help students with science fair or scouting projects.
  39. Search on eBay or Craig’s list for educational materials.
  40. Help organize a food or toy drive with your children and then deliver the items to families that may be homeless or struggling with finances. This will help educate children on the need to be frugal and the realities of life and how many reasons they have to be grateful.
  41. Set up a college fund and use birthday, Christmas and allowance money to be invested for a college education.

With the right mindset anyone can create a long list of creative gift giving ideas to save money and stop buying so much stuff. Most people have lost the true meaning of the holidays and have become too wrapped up in buying stuff and doing stuff that does not really contribute to enjoying happiness, harmony and health during the little time they have to celebrate.

Toys From China

Toys From China

Look at all the wasted gift wrapping paper, boxes and bows that took lots of time and money. Many children have become spoiled opening lots of gift wrapped boxes of toys many of which will break or sit on shelves collecting dust. Many toys result in injuries and are made with harmful and toxic compounds. Adults end up returning many items which is a waste of gasoline and time. This holiday season see how few gifts you can buy and instead focus on creative gift giving that brings back the old fashion joy and spirit of the holiday seasons and give thanks for the many blessings you and your family enjoy.

Mastery Action Plan

  • Before you decide to go shopping or order items online be sure to watch the informative documentary, click >  The Story of Stuff 
  • Scroll back up the page to watch the full Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood movie. This will help you become clear on the problems we face and help you be in a mindset for creative gift giving.
  • Make sure what you may want to purchase is safe from toxic compounds by visiting > Environmental Working Group Website
  • Create a list of twenty things you can do that are free or cost less than ten dollars.
  • Avoid those shopping and gift giving situations that create the most stress during the year and discover great ideas to give something special from the heart instead of the hot deals fashion industry, media and mega stores promote.
  • Begin focusing on things you can do to help create happiness and peace of mind in family, friends and co-workers.
  • As we come to the end of another year begin thinking of healthy and safe ideas for celebrating the New Year. Start focusing on your goals and journaling your vision for creating a vision board and improving next year even more than this one.

Our next blog post will share: Clean the Closets