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Brie Cadman: Celebrate Giving Without the Gifts

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By:Brie Cadman/DivineCaroline

While “what to buy for whom” is usually the hallmark of our Christmas quests, the holidays are also a good time to think about more than just swapping stuff. Shopping, buying, and opening packages can be fun, but creative holiday traditions can supplant this material madness and offer a little more in the way of quality, rather than quantity.

Tree trimming, Christmas light viewing, and ice skating are just a few of the activities that share the spirit without contributing to consumerism, but there are many more.

Share a Skill
Instead of a wrapped package, I would be thrilled if I could tap into friends’ and family members’ wealth of skills and knowledge—and return the favor. For instance, I need someone to chop down the dead tree in mt backyard; in turn, I could dog sit for a week. An uncle that’s a whiz with carburetors could help fix the car in turn for rewiring the home entertainment system. Swapping skills is a great way to start a ritual that shares time, energy, and personal touch—priceless!

Take a Hike
With all the eggnog, goose, champagne, and Buche de Noel’s consumed during the holidays, a Christmas or New Year’s Day hike or walk is one of those traditions that everyone is thankful for. It can be easy stroll,—around the hood to check out the lights—charging up a hill for a cold day view, or through the new powder with snowshoes. Whatever the spot, a ritualistic tromp through the outdoors will not only burn calories, but holiday stress as well.

Charity Donation
This year, instead of a gift, my mom asked that I donate the money to a charitable organization. As I researched the numerous non-profits that are donation-worthy, I’ve also looked into smaller, community organizations that might spend my dollars well. Either way, it’s a tradition I hope to continue in the future, as it’s interesting, fun to research, and supports great causes.


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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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