It’s just what I always wanted!

December 14, 2011 § 4 Comments

As the season of giving whips into a frenzy and people rush about madly looking for stuff to give, I’m here to suggest that there’s a less stressful option: give a letter.

I know, this may sound weird, especially if you’re currently under the influence of the ubiquitous reminders to Buy!Buy!Buy!, but stay with me with for a minute.

No matter what you’re celebrating, the underlying point is to share a connection, right?  Birthdays and anniversaries celebrate personal connections.  Religious holidays celebrate shared beliefs and the connections between believers.  Secular holidays celebrate ideas or themes that draw people together.  You see where I’m going with this?

If:

Celebration = Connection

and:

Letter = Connection

Then, how about:

Celebration = Letter?

Why do you give gifts?  I give them because there are people I adore and I want them to know that they’re important, loved, and worth celebrating.  I write letters and leave notes for people to find for the same reasons.  And I’m fortunate to have family and friends who are on board with doing things that are fun and meaningful, rather than just straight commercial.

Am I advocating replacing all gifts with letters?  Not at all.  But if you sneak a letter in among the baubles and the bling, you’ll have the thrill of giving a truly one-of-a-kind gift.

It can be done in any number of ways.  Here are three ideas to get you started:

  1. Love Letter.  One of my favorite presents from last Christmas came in this envelope:
    It was exactly what I’d said I wanted.  ♥  ♥  ♥And don’t limit yourself by thinking love letters are only for romance.  Parents, siblings, children, friends, aunts, uncles, grandparents–you can write a love letter to anyone you love.
  2. Letter of the Month.  Several years ago, my grandmother announced that she absolutely did not want any more stuff for Christmas, so I gave her a card letting her know that I’d be sending her at least one letter each month of the following year.  She was thrilled and I was on the hook to deliver–it worked out to be a huge win-win.
  3. Little Thoughts.  One year for my birthday, a lovely friend of mine sent me a card accompanied by a handful of slips of paper.  On each slip she had written something she enjoyed about me as a friend.  I kept those slips of paper in my desk drawer for years and smiled every time I saw them.The great thing about this idea (in addition to the fact that it will make someone incredibly happy) is that it’s easy to do even if writing isn’t usually your thing.  You don’t have to wax poetic or even use sentences!  Pick a theme–best sister ever, reasons you’re cute, why I love you, remember when, top moments of the year–and jot down a handful of words, sentences, or ideas that capture the essence of what you want that person to know about how you feel.

    When my desk was cleaned out during a move, I packed up the little thoughts I'd received. I can't put my hands on them at the moment, so, in lieu, please enjoy these thoughts I wrote with some friends in mind.

If you’re feeling stressed about finding the perfect gift to convey your feelings, go ahead and skip the whole material object part of the equation.  Go for simplicity and get right to the heart of why you’re giving by scribbling a present or two this year.

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