Kindness is one of the greatest gifts you can bestow upon another. True kindness lies within the act of giving without the expectation of something in return.
For me, I love thinking back on the times when I was in school and there was a Santa's Workshop. All of the elementary students could go in with their money, usually 50 cents to one dollar per gift and choose the gift for their parents or grandparents or siblings. Trust me, they were pretty much all junk, but as a kid, we did not know that. It was the joy of choosing the gift, buying it ourselves and wrapping it with love. Then on Christmas morning seeing the smiles on the recipients faces. Gifts from our children are priceless.
This is the time to remember that love is the greatest gift of all...love and effort, no matter the cost. Now that I am an adult, there is no real Santa Workshop, so to speak. There is Amazon.com, department stores, specialty stores, etc. All wanting your money, money, money!
There is a way to be generous without breaking the bank, taking out a loan, maxing out credit cards or taking another job. The trick for me is to make a list of the people I wish to buy for and putting a limit on what I can afford. It means to start small. Really, it is not the cost of the gift, it is the gesture and nature of giving.
Sometimes, it may mean cutting out one of my own expenses. Such as starting early in order to review my own budget to see what I can live without. It may be a specialty coffee from Starbucks, or a weekly manicure that I could do myself, or dropping unnecessary phone or cable expenses. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Making a special coupon book to give to someone is not just for children. With all that is available on line, even I (Ms. Not Tech Savvy) could manage making a creative one of color and special effect fonts and clip art. For an older loved one there could be coupons for a ride to their doctor's appointment. For a young parent a coupon to babysit for them to have a night out or a day out shopping and lunch. If you listen closely to your conversations with loved ones, you can pick up on some good ideas of things that really don't cost money, just a little time on your part to fulfill their wish.
Speaking of wishes, remember getting the sales ads in the paper or catalogs in the mail? As children, my brother and I would go through them and circle what we liked and wanted. Then, we could write a letter to Santa and even go visit him to tell him personally.
I must admit that my list could be quite long. Luckily, my mom taught me that I needed to be choosy. There were lots of boys and girls for Santa to visit and everyone could not have everything on their lists.
The greatest gift of all is LOVE.