What I Really Want for Christmas this year: An Open Letter from the Woman who has Everything
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Welcome to my story about what I really want for Christmas this year: an open letter from the woman who has everything. How do you know what to get that person who has everything? It seems like if they want something, they probably just buy it, right? Don’t worry, we will definitely cover off some winning gift ideas. But the holiday season is about so much more than gift-giving. You’ll walk away from this post with some great ideas on how to spoil your loved ones…even if you’re on a strict budget. Here is what I really want for Christmas this year: an open letter from the woman who has everything.
And it’s seriously not what you think.
What I Really Want for Christmas This Year: An Open Letter from the Woman who has Everything
We need to pause and think for a minute about what brings people joy and adds to quality of life. I’ve openly shared my own list of what adds meaning to my life. First, lets talk about people in general. Happiness is a widely researched topic. Findings commonly state that the thing that has the most profound impact on happiness is social interaction. I would also argue that receiving help or having someone to keep you company during errands or chores also has a huge impact on happiness. Engaging in social activities with friends and spending quality time with your loved ones is the best way to increase happiness this holiday season. So there’s a sneaky hint into what the woman who has everything really wants for Christmas this year.
Time with family is something that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Enjoying each others company and making memories that will last much longer than the joy any material item could ever bring.
I would absolutely consider time with family and friends to be a gift. The possibilities are endless; there are so many ways in which you could “gift” family time. There are a couple things you want to keep in mind when trying to make the most of time with family and friends. Of course the number one rule is to be present. Actually pay attention to the conversations, be a good listener, visit and interact with each other, and consciously make an effort to keep the phone away.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with checking your phone in the odd minute of downtime, but phones are a tricky thing. You need to be conscious about not letting it get in the way of being present.
So instead of worrying about what else is going on right now, make the most of your family time and take a photo to brag about it on social media once the fun is all over.
Now that we have addressed the most important rule about getting the most out of family time, we should consider a few things when planning an outing or event. You want to pick a day where everyone you want to be there can attend, including a time of day that works for everyone. For evening activities you could arrange for an after dinner get together. But there’s nothing wrong with meeting for dinner (in or out) and then heading to your destination afterwards.
Finally, you want to pick an activity that’s easy and enjoyable for everyone to participate in, and of course, always have someone on duty to ensure at least a few photos get taken of your adventures!
What I really want for Christmas this year: to Spend More Time with Family and Friends
Recognizing times are always changing, whether or not it’s safe to gather, travel, or spend time in public spaces. Use your discretion, be safe, and be willing to adjust activities to suit the needs of your situation:
- Invite your family to a free skate in your town.
- Visit a regional garden. Many of them put up beautiful holiday lights in the Winter.
- Host an ornament making party at your place. Serve appetizers, play carols, and provide the supplies. Plastic bulbs to be filled, clay, dough, Popsicle sticks…whatever materials you like. Just be sure to include some examples and ideas! You can provide the option for everyone to keep their own ornament, or swap with each other so everyone takes home a new ornament, with a special memory attached. Or if everyone agrees, they all go on the family tree!
- Visit an indoor rock climbing gym where you can participate in the challenge, or spectate.
- Bribe your family to come and help you with yard work for the day by offering to cook a delicious homemade or takeout dinner.
- Volunteer for a cause together or participate in a charitable run/walk.
- Host a holiday or seasonal meal with fun games. Maybe build and/or decorate a gingerbread house.
- Get your matching outfits (plaid anyone?)! Put on toques, mittens, scarfs, and Santa hats. Grab some candy canes, hot chocolate, and go find the perfect Christmas tree! While you’re dressed all festive like, make sure someone is on camera duty! This is the perfect opportunity for an impromptu photo-shoot!
- If its allowed where you live, host a bonfire. If not, a campfire will do!
- Host a potluck dinner and watch a traditional holiday movie: Die Hard is great for those who like to be festive earlier than the rest of your family. Home Alone, A Christmas Carol, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation are all classics. The tradition is yours to choose. With my family each year we watch White Christmas while we decorate the tree.
- Plan a big walk with hot chocolate or boozy coffees, maybe even to find some Christmas Lights.
- Host a bake-off or a holiday cookie exchange! My favourite way is to get as many people together that wants to participate, lets say six people as an example. Each person has to bake one dozen of whatever cookie or treat they will be baking, for each participant. So six participants – six dozen treats. Twelve friends = twelve dozen cookies for each person to bake. In the end, everyone gets one dozen of each kind! It’s a fun way to get your holiday baking on, and it’s always a hoot to try all the flavours with your family to see which one is everyone’s favourite!
What I really want for Christmas this Year: Acts of Service
When thinking of an individual, imagine the chores or responsibilities they are committed to on a weekly or seasonal basis. Basically, you are doing your best identify tasks you can take on to make life easier for them, and get a visit in during the process.
Do you have elderly grandparents? Maybe you can do a bit of yard work for them and offer to get rid of the bags of leaves or branches when you are done. You will get a nice visit, and some exercise out of it. Plus, not that it is expected, but grandmas always seem to put a little picnic together for you when you are outside working away. =D
If giving an actual gift that they can open is important to you, you can present your “act of service” in a way that becomes a gift they can open. There are many creative ways of doing this. My personal favourite way would be to write it in a card. Sort of like an I.O.U. but with a cute picture or display to describe what I am offering.
So when referring to offering to do some yard work for your grandparents, maybe draw a picture of you raking leaves and a picture of a utility trailer filled with bags. You can write “Coupon valued at: one afternoon of yard work, and removal of yard waste. Valid for one year until Christmas returns”. If you really wanted, you could provide a gift box with some garbage bags. You could make the coupon up to be more of like a “golden ticket” to be found among tissue or confetti when they open the gift.
Inspiration and Ideas for Acts of Service to gift your Family and Friends
Here are some acts of services that works well as gifts:
- Arrange a night to show up at their place with a prepared meal;
- Offer to take them out for an experience on you, such as:
- Go to a seasonal play or movie at the local theater
- Plan a DIY wine tour (crawl) with some friends
- Bring the whole family skating
- Pack a picnic, a thermos of hot chocolate, get everyone bundled up and go for a big walk
- Visit a local attraction like a research center, museum, craft fair, day trip to another town, or visit regional botanical gardens
- The next time they have a pile of stuff to get rid of, you will take it to goodwill, recycling center, or landfill and offer to pay any charges
- Offer to cook or bake them their favourite recipe you make including buying ingredients and delivery to their house.
Acts of Service Don't Have to be Grand
When assessing what my weekly commitments looks like for my own situation, it looks like this: I live in a one bedroom basement suite with my husband. We rent, so we haven’t any yard work to do. My typical responsibilities including meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, baking, managing finances, doing dishes, preparing for holidays and working with my husband to ensure our cozy, modest home remains clean and tidy. Mostly dishes, vacuuming, laundry, things like that.
You may be wondering what the heck you can do for someone with modest commitments, such as ours. Don’t forget that we also want to get outside, play and laugh, being social and exercise enough throughout the week. Sometimes these are the things that go to the wayside when life gets busy.
Acts of service can be as simple as an invite to go on a walk with you, having a meal together, and generally hanging out. I love when you call me up to see if we would like to grab takeout and meet at the beach to eat and watch the sunset. If you are going to the local festival of lights, please think of me to see if we’re available to join you! Help us make memories and live life so that it doesn’t end up passing us by….doing the same thing day after day.
I highly recommend you go into the year with the goal of increasing social interaction. Start thinking about how you can make life better and more fun for those around you.
There’s a secret here, and this may be news for some.
The Big Secret
The big secret should be common sense, but it’s not! People feel so obligated to spend money and provide gifts. All to show that they are caring and prove that they didn’t forget about you. The big secret is this:
If you are a big part of someones life, you:
- don’t just think about them, but you take action on including them as part of your life;
- focus on creating memories with them by inviting them to join you during you regular activities;
- offer to come over for a visit;
- give them a helping hand when they are getting ready to host a dinner or celebration;
- invite them and their family out for a bike ride;
- lean on each other in times of need; and
- work together to have fun and appreciate life.
They won’t feel like they need a gift from you. they will want you to keep doing what you’re doing. They will feel lucky to have you. If you do the above with those around you, that is the biggest gift you can give.
Easy Ways to be Social and Include Those who You Care About Most
This is one of those things that you get out of it what you put in. It shouldn’t be an item to check of your list, but something that is also rewarding because you come from a place of authenticity.
An example would be to go for a coffee date with a friend. For a frugal alternative, invite a friend for coffee at your place, and home-make some scones, muffins, or other treat to go with it! If you have to keep your distance, offer to bring them coffee and meet at the local park for a walk.
If you have plans to go do some shopping and want some company, invite a friend or family member along and enjoy the whole experience. When you go Christmas shopping together, maybe opt to treat yourselves to a festive coffee or a photo with Santa to enhance the experience!
As one of my own biggest chores is cooking and doing dishes, we appreciate being invited to dinner at your place! We love trying different flavours and experiencing new family traditions. And of course, we appreciate food and not having to hand-wash dishes (we don’t have a dishwasher)! We love to spend time with those we care about, and are honoured to have you invite us into your space.
Finally, if you insist on giving a gift to that person who has everything, really try to base it on something personal. Make an effort to understand what would enhance their life. Maybe a framed photo to remind them of a fun time, a book related to one of their interests, or something that will enhance one of their regular activities like cooking, fitness, painting, biking, or a sport or other hobby.
Most of the following gift ideas are bigger ticket items. This isn’t a gift guide, it’s my very own wish list from last Christmas. I am one of those that is grateful for what I have, and want to be around family most this time of year. But recognizing that Christmas goes hand in hand with gift giving, I thought I would lay out some items I had my eye on. Before I do, I will share a little bit about myself to give context about how to pick a personal gift.
I work in an office and when at home I love to be cozy on the couch with a good book. But I also like to dress warm and go for big walks. I prefer to dress comfortably and live with quality items I enjoy as part of my regular life, rather than impersonal nick-knacks. Having time for creativity is important to me and I generally get to be creative whole cooking, writing or painting. I enjoy self-care and experiences, such as cooking together, traveling and exploring new places. I’m hoping a few of my ideas will give you inspiration for someone you will be shopping for soon.
So with that background, here are a few items I had my eyes on, with a bit of background as to why:
- Cozy, high quality, oversized sweater. There are two that I have and love. One is a wool crew sweater Icebreaker’s Waypointe Crewe Sweater (I just love the colours) and for a casual hoodie, Lululemon’s All Yours hoodie. You can never have to many cozy clothes that are appropriate for leaving the house in.
Truly wireless headphones. I absolutely love to listen to music, audio-books and podcasts and I am listening them pretty much all the time. I would love headphones that are truly wireless (so each earbud is standalone and not connected to each other), has good reviews and a charging case. I ended up purchasing the Jabra Elite 65t wireless earbuds because of their reviews, quality, and value. I have been so happy with the Jabra headphones and would not hesitate to recommend them! Now that the Elite 75t edition has come out, they look even better!
- Epicurean Kitchen Series Cutting Board. I would love to have a few of these thin, sturdy cutting boards. I also like how they look for photographing food.
- Large, faux fur, super soft blanket. I saw these at our local Costco for about $50 and I am secretly hoping I get to curl up in it on Christmas morning! I love anything that is made of that super soft material!
- Candles from Bath & Body Works. My favourite scents are Marshmallow Fireside, Fireside, and Fresh Balsam. I’m someone who likes to stick to the same scents, but many people like to switch things up regularly.
- Silicon baking mats. These can be bought off of Amazon for about $15, but the ones I have need replacing. I have had them for over ten years and they are cracked and worn out. These are a must-have for people who enjoy cooking or baking and don’t already have a set.
- Slippers and thick socks. For staying cozy I love the reading socks from Indigo. Otherwise, something with a good sole and that is comfortable for walking around the house, when I am standing doing dishes, or spending a lot of time on my feet. I have a pair of Glerups as they are super comfortable, temperature regulating due to being made of wool, and sustainable. I love both the open-heel and boot style.
- A family photo session, with as many of us together as possible.
- Gift cards and consumables: If you know someone loves a particular store, than a gift card to that place is a pretty safe bet. My personal recommendation would be to purchase gift cards for consumables, such as toward a local bakery, butcher shop, farmers market, or for Apple Books or Audible credits. Alternatively, actual consumables, such as mixed nuts, chocolate, wine, cheeses, or a fruit basket. Anything that can be consumed makes a fantastic gift which won’t end up creating clutter.
To Conclude What I Really Want for Christmas this year: An Open Letter from the Woman who has Everything
There you have it! Thank you so much for reading about what I really want for Christmas this year: an open letter from the woman who has everything.
I hope you took the time to reflect on the true spirit of Christmas, and discovered new ways to make memories with your family this holiday season. For that person who has everything, time spent together will be more valuable to them than any material item could ever be. Please never forget that those you are closest to just want your company more than anything else.
Finally, if you were on the hunt for that perfect gift, I hope my wish list gave you some inspiration for that person who has everything. I feel so grateful for everything I have in this life, and hope you feel the same. Wishing a very merry Christmas to you and yours this holiday season!