THE BLOG

This Christmas, Give Your Presence Instead of Presents

12/21/2014 11:10 EST | Updated 02/20/2015 05:59 EST
Anders Blomqvist via Getty Images

It's that special time of year where one and all gather together to celebrate the holidays aka Christmas. Many families have created different traditions throughout the years, but there tends to be this common constant act, celebrated by many that's troubling me lately... the act of giving gifts.

Now don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't like gifts, to be honest I have enjoyed giving gifts, surprises, little treats to my loved ones for years. But I fear that presents during the holidays, have largely become an act of consumerism that is constantly being impeded on us, a form of societal guilt, to keep us spending money and becoming mad -- as we all can't deny with the countless Black Friday horror stories.

No matter where you go, there is this constant push to buy the latest gadgets, fashion trends or beauty products that your loved ones, including yourself, really needs and will feel special and loved once purchasing it. But do we really need any of this crap?

It typically ends up filling our drawers and closets, sometimes never being used or even opened out of its packaging. I know this, as my mom still has a tea set in its original package, my partner and I gave her 3 years ago, as it's "too pretty to open" and she is still thinking of the "right" time to use it.

As I started to lose all hope in humanity -- I stumbled upon a video from lululemon athleticia's Facebook page-- talking about the act of staying present -- in our crazy multi-tasking social media addicted world and it truly moved me.

I highly suggest watching it if you haven't already and share it with loved ones. As well as the Start with Your Heart holiday to-do list below, sharing the same type of message that was shared on social media.

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Wouldn't it be nice if all our holiday lists would be comprised of similar tasks of staying present, giving love and creating memories instead of presents? Why is it so hard to give presence instead of presents anyways? The act of making memories I feel is slowly dying and I fear that as a consumerism society, we are forgetting to appreciate one another and the art of creating lasting memories with loved ones, instead of buying them items that unfortunately won't be remembered in years to come, unlike a beautiful memory. Think back to your favorite memory made with loved ones, I bet you remember a certain smell, touch or sound. I'll never forget walking home from school during the autumn months with my mom and stepping on the crisp leaves to hear that crunching sound.

With everyone's need to feel "accepted" or "important" by posting everything and anything up online for the rest of the world to see -- the act of making memories is becoming lost -- as well as staying present in our daily lives. Please note, I'm not excluded in this generalization either, I too post regularly on my social media channels -- but my question to you is, will you remember whatever "magical" item that's under your tree in 10 years time? Or even two?

Compared to having a night surrounded by loved ones, over a nice hot meal, playing board games and having fun in the snow? I know that I will remember the later for years to come, as I did just that last week with my closest friends. Since then, my partner and I have enjoyed family gatherings, an ugly Christmas sweater party, and feel utterly content to know that next Thursday December 25, there will remain a beautifully decorated Christmas tree in our living room with nothing underneath it. This will be our second year celebrating the holidays without presents, and we continue to stand by making memories and forgoing the shopping malls. We initially decided to stop the madness last year due to our wedding -- but this year -- we honestly couldn't think of anything we possibly wanted or needed except spending time with love ones and eating some delicious meals.

As we get closer to Christmas, I hope you consider a few ideas I've put together for you and loved ones to do this season, to practice staying present and building lasting memories:

1) Bake homemade treats- there are a million great recipe you can find on Pintrest - or try to test out some family secret recipes

2) Build a snowman or make snow angels - it can lead to a spontaneous snowball fight which is always fun

3) Try a new recipe and make dinner together - it might be intimidating especially if your domestic skills are not as good as Martha Stewart - but if I can do it, so can you!

4) Bring out the old school board games and play a round of Scrabble, Jenga, Monopoly etc. Let the holidays bring out your playful side

5) Embrace the cold and get active with love ones by hiking, tobogganing or skating

If you really don't want to go empty handed on Christmas day, I've always been a fan of giving cards aka letters of appreciation to loved ones - another act that is unfortunately slowly dying - and reminding them how much you treasure there existence in your life with well wishes for the new year.

Wishing you all a happy holiday and the best year yet - I hope you collect moments not things in 2015 :)

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