Several years ago, as we all tore open our holiday gifts, one of the young people at our holiday gathering told us about her friend’s family that no longer exchanged tangible gifts. Instead they offered coupons for favors, experiences that they would share together during the upcoming year, and Heifer Foundation animals.
One of the favors was that on the third Sunday of every month, the husband would gather the children and quietly leave the house very early on Sunday morning so that his wife could sleep late. Sometimes he would take them to breakfast and sometimes when the weather was nice, he would pack a breakfast picnic the night before and the children and he would go to a park to play and eat.
Some of the experiences that were offered as gifts included tickets to upcoming cultural events and museum exhibits, hikes, fishing expeditions down the road and off the bridge, a family vacation, and volunteering to organize game nights throughout the year.
In addition, some of the family members who agreed to give up the gifts of stuff, exchanged purchased animals from the Heifer Foundation. Goats, sheep, llamas, chickens, ducks, were offered in honor of each other and with the knowledge that someone somewhere else would benefit immensely from the exchange of holiday gifts.
This holiday season we will attempt to emulate that family that gave up the gifts of stuff and made the holiday season about what we can do for each other.
What do you think? Let’s hear from you!