Gift giving doesn’t have to be expensive

Christmas by Bruce Stambaugh
By Bruce Stambaugh

In the blink of an eye, Thanksgiving has come and gone. So too have Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Christmas and New Year’s Day soon will be upon us.

It’s not like the holidays are magically appearing. To be sure, we already have been overexposed to a much too commercialized Christmas through every form of media. The Christmas creep, as some call it, began in early fall.

Indeed, Christmastime is the gift-giving season. But it appears that buying and spending on everything from Chia pets to Cadillacs is the way to celebrate, if we simply gauge the season by the advertisers.

Christmas gift by Bruce StambaughChristmas is so much more than that. It is the time of thinking of others, and remembering them by giving gifts. That is the universally portrayed holiday procedure. The gift, however, doesn’t have to be opulent or pricy, just appropriate for the person.

I enjoyed an article our daughter shared that poked fun at the extremism of holiday shopping. Entitled “The Best 5 Toys Ever,” the humorous story listed the season’s best toys for children. Instead of the latest electronic game or fancy dollhouse, the author suggested sticks, boxes, string, cardboard tubes and dirt as the top presents for children. Each point was illustrated with a picture of a child having fun with these simple items. To drive home the silliness, a positive and negative remark about each “toy” followed the analysis, just like a review of a real toy.

The sarcastic thrust was that our society often over thinks and certainly over indulges when it comes to giving presents for Christmas. We are lead to believe they come in the form of pretty packages, make noise and create virtual fun.
Sharing by Bruce Stambaugh
Sometimes the most practical item is the most appropriate gift, and hardly costs a thing, other than an investment of time. Take balloons for example.

Our two-year old granddaughter loves balloons. Nana reported that on her last visit to Virginia, Maren’s favorite playtime was spent batting a balloon back and forth. Is there volleyball in her future?

I’m not suggesting you buy nothing for your loved ones this Christmastime. Rather, I’m simply saying that you may not have to break the bank to please them.

Christmas games by Bruce StambaughThe finest gift at Christmas doesn’t have to be the most expensive. It might just be the gift of time. In our hustle, bustle work-a-day world, it’s easy to follow the crowd to the big box store specials. For whatever reason, our society seems to find it unfashionable to spend a little time with one another, just reminiscing, remembering, playing games, and enjoying one another’s company.

Perhaps my reticence toward expensive gift giving is personally tainted by my life’s station. As grandparents, my wife and I are looking to divest ourselves of some of the earthly possessions we once thought precious. We don’t need to add to our already cluttered household hoard.

This Christmas, we will be wrapping our unpretentious presents using boxes and tubes and string. Those necessary items won’t be the gifts themselves. We will try to ignore the barrage of electronic and print suggestions on how to spend our money, and simply embrace our company while we can.

Christmas is just around the corner. I hope you get the opportunity to celebrate its true meaning with those you love. I know the time I spend with my family and friends will be the greatest gift I receive, sticks and string included.
Sled ridding by Bruce Stambaugh

Author: Bruce Stambaugh

Writer, marketer, columnist, author, photographer, birder, walker, hiker, husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, township trustee, converted Anabaptist, community activist, my life is crammed with all things people and nature and wonder. My late father gave me this penchant for giving and getting the most out of life, my late mother the courtesy, kindness, and creativity to see the joy in life. They both taught me to cherish the people I am with. I try and fail and try again.

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