Relational giving – we all love the idea, but this last year has taken every ounce of our creativity and we’re just not sure where to start. Since the very last thing this 2020 season needs is more stress, we’ve put together three simple ideas for you to use or share with those who are hoping to give to you this season.
We hope these ideas inspire you. Some of them cost a few dollars, some of them hundreds, some of them just your good will and time. Pin them, share them, make them your wish list, or use them as a starting point to come up with relational giving ideas of your own!
The Gift of Encouragement:
When you become a parent, you sign up for the never-ending nagging fear that you might be doing just about everything wrong. “Oh no, I nursed her to sleep again – she’ll probably never go to college.” “Oh no, I caved and fed them mac ‘n cheese when they wouldn’t eat their broccoli – their relationship to food is probably broken and they’ll be having tantrums until 30.”
You get the idea.
Honor the new parents in your life by celebrating and witnessing their successes. Since you can’t be there in person, get out your rusty old pen and paper and write a letter, a real, scribbly, hard-to-read letter, in which you list or highlight all the things you think they do well as a parent. That beautiful way he sings to his son to calm him down, the times she shows up for Zoom meetings obviously tired but still prepared and simultaneously running socially-distant school on the other end of the breakfast table, that awesome idea they had that saved the day during the great masked shopping cart meltdown – write them down. Applaud them. Go a little overboard with generous praise.
We could ALL use some generous praise this year.
The Gift of Memory:
Are you handy with a camera? This year, everyone’s budget is especially tight, and family photos can be expensive. Take a young family for an outdoor, social distanced informal holiday photo shoot. Your time and editing skills could be the gift that provides families with memories of this complicated time, memories where EVERYONE is in the photo together.
If photography isn’t your gift, get your hands on existing photographs from the past year and craft them into a memory book for the family – something most of us are always trying to do and always running out of time to finish. Show them you’ve noticed and remember all those magical #dadadamoments that took place in 2020. Little ones LOVE looking at photos of themselves and people they know – make them a storybook starring all their favorite folks, maybe featuring relatives they haven’t gotten to see much of this year.
For the technologically savvy, consider the gift of literal memory. Gift a hard drive to store all the photos and videos they’ve collected of the kids – they really add up!
More space is a wonderfully practical gift.
The Gift of Rest and Romance:
Parents are parenting HARD this year, with 24/7 shifts, closed schools, few or no babysitting options, and no break in sight. Send your favorite couple tools for a night in to reconnect and recharge. A giftcard for takeout from their favorite date night spot, a subscription to a streaming service or online game, luxurious bath products, linens, and candles that will make their home feel like a resort getaway, or a bottle of your favorite artisan spirit for post-bedtime nightcaps. Eve if it’s only the new book you know she’s been dying to read, every little bit that feels like an escape helps.
Remember: though we may be physically far from each other this holiday season, we can still connect, encourage, support, and celebrate. This year, more than ever, lean into the things that TRULY matter with your loved ones. Find creative ways to say I love you. Give them the gift of your time, intention, and attention as we make it through the last few months of this unpredictable year together.