Your Presence is your Present

As the holidays are solidly upon us, I am finally feeling a little bit relieved that it is almost over. I took the handmade pledge, made the majority of my gifts, or bought handmade for the rest. I, again, underestimated the amount of time it would take me to get everything accomplished and ended up spending an arm and a leg on shipping, but my stress level has subsided.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays. Figuring out gifts and baking an insane amount is actually fun, but takes a lot of coordination. So I wanted to give you another option for your gift giving. The gift of time.

It is the ultimate in green giving. No purchase necessary. It doesn’t consume resources. It even thwarts the consumerism that is so prevalent during this season. All’s it requires is for you to craft some room in that super busy over-scheduled life of yours.

I didn’t say it would be easy.

In our ever rush, rush, rush; go, go, go world, spending time with loved ones is more priceless to me than any gift. Taking a night to reconnect with friends or having dinner with a cousin, who suddenly drops in from out of town, helps create memories that last a life time.

So far I’ve been able to take time to catch up with a friend from out of town and another who I don’t get to see very often. Each time we reminisced about the last time we spent together and I know that when I see each of them again, we will do the same. Going over old memories like smooth beach stones.

It might feel weird when you tell a friend that you don’t want to exchange gifts, and that you should have dinner instead, but it will mean more. Or if you can’t spend time during the holidays, plan for a future “date” to get together.

Take a walk, grab a cup of coffee, make cookies, visit a museum. Ask your grandmother how to sew. All of these time giving activities are fun, family friendly and never expire. So go on, give it a try. Tell someone that their presence is present enough. Because actually, it is so much more than any physical gift can be.

[Image by jek in the box]

Written by Kelly Rand

Kelly covers visual arts in and around Washington, DC for DCist and is editor of Crafting a Green World. Kelly has also been published by Bust Magazine and you can find her byline at Indie Fixx and Etsy’s Storque and has taught in Etsy’s virtual lab on the topic of green crafting.

Kelly helps organize Crafty Bastards: Arts and Crafts Fair, one of the largest indie craft fairs on the east coast and has served on the Craft Bastard’s jury since 2007. Kelly is also co-founder of Hello Craft a nonprofit trade association dedicated to the advancement of independent crafters and the handmade movement. Kelly resides in Washington, D.C. and believes that handmade will save the world.


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  1. I love this idea!

    Even better than going out, it might be fun to plan a dinner date in, where you cook together. There’s something special about creating a meal with another person that I can’t really even describe.

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