Rethinking Holidays: Revolution Gift Idea #3 | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

October 14, 2009

Rethinking Holidays: Revolution Gift Idea #3

Rethinking Holidays

This gift idea is a freebie.


A friend of mine made a comment regarding last week's gift idea post. She said, "Cute idea! But isn't it more stuff? I'm trying to avoid the "stuff" route this year and it's proving quite difficult!" She is right. So true. "Stuff" is something we are ALL trying to reduce in our lives. Personally, I'm trying to change my need to be so attached to "stuff" in general (which is a WHOLE other topic/post all together, but a topic worth discussing!). It my hope is to share an assortment of gift ideas over the next few weeks, ranging from homemade and bought to inexpensive and free. Since my last 2 posts required buying things, it seems like a good time to mix things up a bit...

It has only recently occurred to me that gifts do not have to have a monetary value (I know, "Get with it, Steph..."). As cheesy as those credit card commercials may be, some things in life truly are priceless. Isn't it true that we care more about the gift giver over the gift itself? This brings me to a new way of thinking of what a "gift" is, and I hope it encourages as well!

Revolution Gift Idea #3:
Quality Time (Part I)

Yes, this is a 2-part idea, the second half of which I will post next week (note: it will not be a freebie, but it will be creative and worth giving!). The idea of "Quality Time" has never crossed my mind as something to give. I believe whole-heartedly that we do not value Quality Time (publicly, anyway) because we live in a society that values a price tag. We like being able to look at something and know its assigned value. We like something that is tangible. We like something that can be seen and touched and literally given.

If I am honest with myself, as much as I appreciate being given something tangible, opening it to reveal a gift, very few tangible gifts are memorable. There is a haze of memories in my mind including generic gift cards, wearable items, edible things and other various stuff. As much as I appreciate them, I barely remember them.

What I can remember, though, are the gifts of time spent with people I love. Dinner and Movie with another couple, time away with my family, Shopping and Lunch with the girls. These are things that I can remember vividly. I can recall the conversations, the games we played, things we laughed over. Memories last much longer than any material gift could!

If we relish it so much, what is keeping us from giving it?

Are you wondering how to give this gift? Here are some of my suggestions for Gifts of Quality Time:

1) Instead of swapping gifts with another couple, make a date to go out together to dinner and a movie. Bring a bottle of wine, have good conversations over dinner, and then go out to coffee afterwards and discuss the movie.

2) Instead of swapping gifts with a girlfriend, make a date every week for the next 3 months to go running/walking together. Loads of time to gossip, catch up and laugh (and you're butt will thank you!)

3) Instead of swapping gifts with another family, hold a Family Game Night. Invite them over to your house for pizza, (beer for the adults?), popcorn and hours of card and board games. Make it a yearly tradition (or better yet, monthly!)

4) Instead of swapping gifts with a family member, make a date to bring them dessert every week for a month. Bake up a batch of brownies, and catch up on life over the chocolatey goodness (don't forget the milk!)

5) Instead of swapping gifts with a significant other (spouse, fiance(e) or girlfriend/boyfriend), plan out a month of weekly date nights. Before giving the gift, create a list of 4 dates. Do all the leg-work of making reservations, getting babysitters, checking work schedules. One week can be dinner, another week can be coffee at a book store, the next week can be rock climbing or hiking. Lots of ideas, some of which can be low-cost or free! Present the gift, but keep the content of the dates as a surprise! Enjoy the night out without friends or kids.

I'll put it out there: some of the things on my list may seem lame to you. When we are in the routine of valuing gifts that are tangible, I know it can be difficult to see the above ideas as "gifts."

But I'd like to challenge you to think about this:

They may not remember the sweater (which they'll probably return because it's not their style anyway) or the gift card (spent the next day without a thought and then forgotten) or the 3-month membership to the Jams and Jellies of the Month Club. But I know that they will remember...

...the creativity...

...the thoughtfulness...

...the effort...

...the laughter...

...the conversations and time they have to spend with a person (or people) they love....

I would.

And That. Is. Priceless.

~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~

Would love to hear your thoughts and Quality Time leave a comment!

See you next week for Part II


  1. This is good. This is good. I can think of a time when we did do this (during a family gift exchange). But you know, what DO YOU get the brother-in-law who is never home, always busy(doing for others), great guy... but who doesn't need much? We actually thought more of my sis in this area. They NEEDed to go out on a date... so we gave them a coupon; Free babsitting for their daughters and a gift certificate out to dinner (I forget the resturant). They needed quality time together - alone - as a couple. It helped. We had fun and they did too.

    Gift of Quality Time are always good in my book.

  2. It works too! My besties and I do a Christmas dinner with our hubby every year (which is special b/c we all live so far apart).

    I've been making coupon books for my mom for as long as I can remember. From doing various chores around the house when I was young, to taking her out for ice cream just the two of us. It's much better than giving her more 'stuff'.

  3. Great ideas!

    Although I am trying not to think about the holidays.
    I am still mourning Summer. Terribly.


Hey! Share a thought or two - I'd love to hear from you! ~ Steph

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