Stressed out about getting gifts this year? You’re not alone. This year was a roller coaster, and you might be feeling your mood is closer to Scrooge than holly jolly this holiday season more than ever. So we wondered: how can we get back to basics this season, and spend less time worrying about things, and more time connecting with people around us?
We asked this question to the driver community, who open their cars and hearts to countless strangers every day, and we received tons of expert advice — from parents, students, CEOs, bakers, teachers, therapists, entrepreneurs, military vets, and everything in between. All week, we’ll be featuring our favorite responses.
1. Skip the mall and DIY.
“I choose one or two special people in my life and make a quilt for them. If someone’s special to you, make something that’s unique and special for them,” says Jim in San Francisco. Not the crafty type? “I use Pinterest to find ideas,” says Aprial in Portland.
2. Spread holiday cheer with candy.
It’s science: you can’t go wrong with sweets, says Monique, a marriage and family therapist in Chicago. “I don’t know one soul who doesn’t like to be handed a candy cane from a smiling face. You’ll feel great and they’ll feel special for receiving a random act of kindness.”
3. Tell someone you care in a card (and mean it!).
“One of the things I do during the holiday season is keep 20+ holiday cards in my purse,” says Monica, a high school teacher in Dallas. She’ll write messages to acquaintances, old and new, and surprise them. “The expressions on their faces are priceless. It may just be a card, but sometimes it’s all people get.”
4. Give an experience instead.
Spending quality time is more fun — and more memorable — than presents, says Shanae, a mom of 3 teenagers in Atlanta. “Last year I took my kids to the movies, and this year we’ll take a special trip to the mountains. I hope I fill their lives with unforgettable experiences rather than forgettable gifts.”
5. Stick to a handy blueprint.
Lisa, an author in LA, recommends this trick if you’re feeling overwhelmed: “Our family each picks gifts to give to each person based on this poem: ‘something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read.’" It makes gifting more fun and practical, she says. “I wish we would have discovered this idea sooner!”
Want more ways to #ReclaimTheHolidays? See 5 quick and easy holiday recipes, brought to you by the driver community.