By Karen Amos

Well, it’s that ‘Time of Year’ again!  I was in town last week and was struck by how stressed and unhappy all the shoppers looked.  We’re sold a dream of a joyous Christmas, but in reality, there just seems to be lots of pain for everyone.

I’ve had a bit of an epiphany over the last couple of years regarding gift-giving.  I could see I was just accumulating more ‘stuff’ and as time goes on (not that I’m getting old mind!), I’m all for decluttering and down-sizing.  I think this stems from developing a sense of my own personal values and knowing what’s really important to me.  Let’s face it, few of us would own up to personal values of greed, avarice and ownership of as many unused things as possible, yet that seems to be the mission so many people go on every year in December.

My husband and I changed our approach last year and asked everyone not to buy us any gifts, as we had everything we needed.  For our family, we gave what they valued most – our time.  We gave a ‘gift voucher’ for a ‘Grand Day Out’, with Malcolm, the Chauffeur (aka my better half) and Karen, the Tour Guide.  We had a super day in the Lake District, taking our parents out to places they wouldn’t normally have gone.  And guess what?  They asked for this again for their present this Christmas and have also asked if they can do the same for us.  Yes!!

So before launching into the next buying frenzy, why not take a few moments to ask what you and others would really choose for Christmas – rather than what the large retailers would like you to buy.  The answer could be more enjoyable than you thought…

Karen Amos is the owner of BrightBird Coaching & Training.  She is a qualified Executive and Professional Development coach and trainer.

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