The holidays: a time to give and share, to be together, to spread warmth and love. Then why does gift giving bring on a case of the sweats, even on the frostiest of days? It wasn’t always this way. I still remember getting butterflies just thinking about all of the festivities, light little lovely flutters of cheer and sparkle. The flutters are still there, but now (especially when a trip to a mall is involved) they are more similar to a desperate stampede of the large, grassland, wildabeast-esque taxonomy. At what point did the holidays change from excitement to survival mode?
As best I can pinpoint, I believe for me it was when I started giving gifts that weren’t purchased by my parents. Money of course is a concern; why else do we turn into the afore-mentioned desperate stampede for a deal at 4:00 in the morning? More than spending however, is a need to give the perfect gift, something that is not only overwhelmingly loved by the receiver but shows exactly how much they are loved, and packed with more meaning than words could ever express. Perfect. After years of crunch-time crafts and gift anxiety, I have finally discovered two things.
No 1. Stop worrying about the “perfect” gift, it’s like the elusive jackalope – probably not out there and everything else would be anticlimactic if you did find it.
No 2. Experience local.
For me, stress comes from focusing on what you give or get. Joy comes from the experiences shared. Giving something special from local artisans, markets, restaurants, and shops has not only created exciting experiences for me in the shopping, but it has created memorable experiences in the sharing. Honoring someone through a donation to a local organization only widens the ripples of sharing experiences by giving back to the community. Gift memberships are all in one. When you give a membership, you are giving unlimited unique experiences and endless opportunities to find something magical and meaningful all year long.
You are giving inspiration. You are giving wonder. You are giving enlightenment. You are giving discovery. You are giving reflection. You are also giving these gifts to all of those who are similarly reached by the organization through your support. It is truly the gift that keeps giving.
If you’re reading this, then the Dixon Gallery and Gardens has created some of those experiences for you. Share what words cannot by giving the gift of the Dixon this holiday season.
Warmest of wishes from our family to yours, Karen Strachan