As we enter the most consumer-driven time of the year, it’s been interesting to note the ways that I and my friends as individuals can turn the focus from buying to giving.
Buying usually involves either some sort of stress or guilt induced compunction to spend the right amount of money on the perfect gift for someone. It’s often more of a reflection on you, the gifter, than on the giftee. Giving, on the other hand, is something more…what’s the word…natural? fluid?
I just celebrated my birthday and was so impressed by what I received from close friends. First, amazing handmade, handwritten cards that I want to save. One friend gave me a book she’d finished that she knew I’d enjoy. Two others passed on jewelry from their own collections. And, of course, I got a designer reusable shopping bag!
The fact that these people felt comfortable enough to give me things I’d enjoy, without regard for gift receipts or ostentation, really made me appreciate the thought behind the presents. The ease of my friendships is what made the day special for me.
On that note, I just attended a cookie exchange, so many people are going to get hand-baked gifts from me this season. As a bonus, I’m including a recipe for natural, homemade lip balm that would make a perfect thoughtful Christmas present.
– 2 oz. castor oil, 2 oz. shea or mango butter, 1/2 oz. beeswax, 1 1000 IU vitamin E capsule (optional)
– flavoring: lemon, lime, peppermint, grapefruit or orange essential oil (1/4-1/2 teaspoon depending on your preference for strong or mild flavoring)
– In a small aluminum saucepan melt the first three ingredients over the lowest heat. (Shea butter will have a grainy texture if it is heated higher than the lowest heat setting.) Remove from heat and allow to cool before adding the vitamin E and essential oils. Stir well and pour into a measuring cup. Pour into small jars. Wait until balm has cooled before closing lids.
I wonder what other ideas people have for turning this holiday season into something more natural and full of ease…