Presence Over Presents

By Dr. Hannah Conry ND

Please note that the article in last months LocalsGuide (November 2019) titled “Keeping Healthy Through the Holidays” was actually authored by Dr. Hannah Conry.

My younger son (he’s in 4th grade) had a project at the beginning of the school year that was to create a timeline of his life with10-12 meaningful events to help the class get to know each other. Do you know what mattered to him? Camping at Mt. Rainier, a road trip where we visited family and friends and 8 national parks, whitewater rafting in Bozeman, MT, going in the Ape Caves, trips to the Oregon coast, and yes two bigger trips that we were able to do, Legoland and Disneyland. Everything on his timeline was about being with his family doing something fun. There was nothing on there about a time we bought him something.

The excitement over having something new and shiny is brief. The memories that last are those that are experiences. Especially the experiences that are unique and shared with those you love and that love you. We can learn so much from our littles.

Never is our consumer culture more on display than at this time of year. It is the holiday season for goodness sake!

We each have two bank accounts to give from – time and money. That’s it. Make your gifts count.

Mindful and moderate purchasing is great! I am in no way asking you to never buy another gift. A thoughtful gift warms the heart of the receiver and can bring you closer together. What follows are some ideas for inspiration to shift gift-giving to presence/time-based gifts.

  • Make something! This can be fun and therapeutic for you and convey so much love to the receiver. Knit a scarf, make a picture frame, bake treats, make candles, lip balm, bath salts, paint something, make a clay mug, vase, or bowl. So many ways to get creative.
  • Local tour! Explore something new and exciting or share in something that you have found and enjoy. Ski pass, ice skating, hiking, camping, leisurely meal, tea and a trip to browse at the bookstore, a class pass for dance, yoga, fitness, music lessons, a gift certificate for a massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, naturopathic, or help with a project. Innumerable ways to connect and spend time with your loved ones.
  • Get away! The ultimate in giving of your time is an away adventure. This could be a night away or longer. So many options I won’t attempt to list. Let your imagination soar.

However you choose to spend your holidays and the gifts you give, remember to truly connect with, and be present, for your loved ones. That is what matters the most.