Gifts that Make an Impact
The increase in gas, food, and other essential items has altered many aspects of everyday life, making people lower their retirement contributions, tighten their budgets, and cut back on unnecessary purchases. People are already budgeting to spread their current resources thin enough to provide for themselves and their families and hopefully put a little money away. The upcoming holiday season will put even more significant pressure on people’s finances.
Your health may feel the effects when you’re stressed about finances or cutting corners. Research shows financial health issues and mental health struggles often accompany each other. American Psychology Today found that stress about money is the highest since 2015, with 61% of respondents saying money is a significant source of stress. When stress goes unregulated, it can affect your physical wellness in the form of headaches, sleep issues, and a lowered immune response.
In 2022, consumers in the United States are expected to spend approximately $930 on Christmas gifts on average, according to statista.com. This is the highest Americans will spend on gifts in the past 20 years. With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Shop Local Saturday, it can feel like there’s pressure to buy a present every day. If buying gifts isn’t in your budget this year or you want to spend money on something meaningful, here are a few options you can explore for gift-giving.
Donate to a cause. This is an opportunity to both connect with your community and do something good for those around you. This year, consider donating to someone’s name instead of gifting an item. If you know your friend is an animal lover, consider donating dog food, treats, or toys to the local humane society in their name or volunteering for a few hours in their honor. They will appreciate the sentiment, your community will benefit, and you’ll feel like you’ve really made an impact.
Write a letter. This holiday season, rather than giving a gift, spend time writing personal letters to the people in your life. You don’t have to have perfect penmanship or the nicest paper. You just have to write sincerely. If you don’t know what to write about, here are a few prompts to help get you started:
- What was the favorite memory you made with this person this year?
- What are you looking forward to doing together in 2023?
- Why are you grateful to have this person in your life?
Gift a Memory. Something that will create lasting memories is gifting an experience. Whether that’s tickets to a sporting event or just making a night into a movie marathon, spending time with your loved ones will always be appreciated. The event doesn’t have to be expensive or a whole travel day. It’s just a dedicated time you will spend with your loved ones. If you’re stumped, here are a few ideas:
Plan a movie marathon of both of your favorite childhood movies. You could make the experience cozy with blankets and snacks.
Get Festive. Find a town with a light festival or neighborhood that goes all out with its holiday decorations. Just sit in the car together and enjoy the décor. You could put Christmas music on the radio, make some hot chocolate, and enjoy the season.
Look for local theater. Do some research to see if any colleges or community organizations are putting on shows near you. The tickets are typically inexpensive, and you experience something you may never have seen before!
In Memorial. If someone in your life has passed away, the holidays can feel like an especially difficult time. If you are looking to keep their memory going, consider donating in their name. You can donate to the school where they graduated, their favorite organizations like a spiritual or community organization, the place they received care, or if they had a disease, consider donating to an association or foundation that is closely related. Money is often spent on research or providing care for others who suffer from the same illness. Don’t forget to include these important details:
- Their name
- The reason you’re making this donation or what this organization meant to the person
- Your name
Give to a nonprofit. Consider donating to a nonprofit in your area, like a hospital, school, or library. Making a tax-deductible donation is simple. You can contact the organization directly to see where their area of greatest is located. Giving a gift or volunteering at a nonprofit can benefit the community for years to come.
During the holiday season, people can feel eager to give to others. This could include giving to family, friends, colleagues, well-wishers, and even strangers. But if the stress of finding and buying presents is taking a toll on your mental and physical, consider switching up your regular gift-giving. Your donations or contributions don’t have to be huge. You just have to show people that you care about them and their well-being.