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Reframing Gift Giving

This week, I have been thinking a lot. With the holidays coming up, I have been thinking of what the holidays mean to me, anyway!

Every year, I sit down with overwhelm on my mind as I try to decide what to gift the people I love in my life. It isn't like a dislike giving gifts - quite the opposite! I love showing those I love that I love them by finding something I know they will like. The only problem is that if I get everyone I love a meaningful material gift... that is a lot of money!

In the years prior, I would literally put myself into debt (or even further into debt) so that I could give great gifts. Crazy, right? Not really! Last year, holiday debt averaged a whopping $1,381! Wow!

Last year, I started a new gift-giving tradition. I reached out to my closest friends and family and told them that I would not be buying gifts this year. Instead, I told them, I would be providing services or other homemade gifts. For some, I cooked their favorite meals and delivered it to their homes. Others, I provided a service that I was good at - I gave away lots of free health coaching bundles!

This year, I decided to take it a step further. I am still offering my closest friends a service-oriented gift, but I am also asking that I please not receive any gifts either! I asked my loved ones to please not give me a gift, but to use that money to donate to a cause they care about. I also gave everyone the option to collect donations like menstruation products, clothes they no longer want, hygiene products, canned food, etc and "gift" that to me to include in my own holiday donation drive.

If you want to support me in my quest to reduce consumerism and center the holidays in service and love, invite your loved ones to donate their budget for your gift and ask them to donate to a cause!

If you would like to join me in mine, I am collecting donations for Street Safe, an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit that follows a harm-reduction philosophy by striving to reduce the harmful consequences associated with life on the street. Most of the women they serve have been victims of human sex-trafficking, while others have struggled with homelessness and addiction. Learn more on how you can support Street Safe here.

I really loved this podcast by Make Your Damn Bed about gift giving!