Gift-ing is our love language here at Le Wren, but there are many other ways to show your loved ones you care this holiday season besides a beautiful, thoughtful gift.
It’s easy to get lost in the sheer busy-ness of this time of year and forget the whole point: connecting to those you love and taking time away from our “normal lives” to celebrate each other. But there truly is no greater gift than time and one's attention.
Below are five ideas to help you attain what sometimes feel so impossible:
In today’s world, this is one of the best gifts you can give your loved ones. Put your phones down and be mindful, present and focused on one another. It sounds simple and obvious but how frequently do we actually connect people without our phones nearby?
The gift of your undivided attention (for more than 15 minutes) is truly powerful. Consider putting asking your family and guests to put their phones in a collective bowl for an hour; the physical distance from the phones will help keep the focus on each other and not the screen.
Do a favorite activity together
This holiday season, my big brother will be coming down to Texas to stay with us. We were both athletes growing up and love to work out. We have an extensive workout schedule planned for his visit and I guarantee that these will be the highlight of his visit, likely for both of us. We’ll remember the time together far more than whatever present I give him this year, and vice versa.
What are some of your favorite activities to do with family? Cooking or baking together? Going for long walks? Decorating the tree? Christmas crafting?
Do that and try to stay present in the moment as it’s happening.
This idea borrows a similar concept to the suggestion above, but instead of doing something together you already know you like to do, why not volunteer? Pick a local organization you’ve always admired or been meaning to volunteer with and make it happen this holiday season, together. Volunteering together is bound to create wonderful memories and also helps your community at the same time.
My daughter and I recently volunteered at the incredible Houston Food Bank, and I guarantee a core memory was created for both of us in those fleeting two hours.
Create a new holiday tradition
Last year our family started a new Christmas tradition: exchanging books and chocolate on Christmas Eve. We borrowed this tradition from Iceland and their tradition of Jolabokaflod. We are a family that loves both books and chocolate, so it seemed a perfect ritual to incorporate into our holiday traditions. By taking the time to think about a new tradition –and actually create one – we’re signaling to each other how much we love one another. There truly is no greater gift than time or attention.
Send thoughtful notes (in the mail) to those far away
And for those with whom you can’t physically share the holidays with, send an encouraging note through the actual mail. It feels like such a treat to receive an actual piece of real mail in our super-digital world; snail mail creates a bond an email never could. This is an especially powerful idea for those that are grieving during the holidays or have had a really rough year.
What are some other ideas you can think of to foster connection during the holiday season? Please comment below -- we'd love to hear your thoughts.