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Oh it's the holidays again. Is it just us or does each holiday just seem more stressful than the last? The shopping practically starts when it's still summer, the travel planning is a pain, not to mention traveling itself, and the gift list just grows longer and longer.  Gift giving is wonderful and receiving is even better, but like too many things these days, it's become a check the box thing we have to do. Don't you ever wonder what's the point of this song and dance that we do with our family, friends, co-workers, teachers, nannies, etc?

This year, we're thinking about and doing things a little differently, a little more intentionally. After all, giving a gift is about giving thanks. It's an acknowledgment of the people that matter most in our lives, a way to tell them thank you for who you are, what you do, and what you mean to us. 

We are by no means against gift giving (if you think it's something someone will really want and love). In fact we have many great gifts here at Rue Saint Paul that can make someone you love very very happy :) We just think sometimes it's easy to toss money at a gift and lose sight of why we gifted in the first place.

With that in mind, we challenged ourselves (and it was challenging!) to come up with a list of thoughtful, cultured, and high brow gifts we can give this year that is truly about saying thank you with the one thing you cannot buy, time and love. As we brainstormed, we realized these gifts were not only about giving our time and love to others, but also about gifting ourselves with a little piece of mind during the holidays.
 

1. Give your time together: Some say there is no such thing as a selfless good deed and perhaps that's true. Helping someone else truly does make us feel better, so it's like you are giving twice the gifts when you give together with someone you love. Whatever it is that stirs your heart, be it an animal shelter, food pantry, tutoring, or raking leaves in the neighborhood, take your loved ones this holiday and give together. It will make you feel more productive than a day shopping and your loved ones will feel so thankful for what they have and their ability to give this holiday.
2. Write a letter to someone: How often do you sit down and really reflect on how lucky you are to have the people that you do in your life? How often do you actually tell them? In today's fast paced world of emails and instant everything, give someone you love the most valuable thing you have, your time, appreciation, and thoughtfulness.

3. Make a video for someone: Same as number #2, but a bit more digital. Make a funny, heartwarming, or silly video for someone you love this year. If you're shy on camera or just can't think of what to say, do we what always do, make a list. Here are some ideas of a top 10 list you can say on camera : reasons why you love someone, things they've done this year that meant a lot to you, their best traits, etc!

4. See Christmas lights in the neighborhood. Whether you live in the city or in the suburbs, chances are there will be holiday festivities all around you. Drive through that neighborhood that outdoes everyone else every year, go see the Christmas displays, or even take a hay ride. Maybe it's a little crowded, yes its cliche, but it's the holidays. How else are you supposed to get in the spirit, standing in line at a crowded shopping mall? 

5. Be creative with each other: There isn't much that compares to the feeling of joy and victory in creating something. A gingerbread house, a snowman, a painting with friends, bring together your favorite people and have a party. You'll friends and family will love you for it.

6. Hike together: We're not recommending you go hiking through two feet of snow, but if the weather is mild or if you are lucky enough to be in the south or the west, hiking is one of the best things to do with your friends or loved ones. Save your loved ones from the holiday madness and take them hiking!

7. Visit a free museum / gallery / botanic garden: We love museums but we get not everyone enjoys art, history, or flowers :) If you don't, make it into something fun with your family or friends. We love going to museums and making up stories about what's happening in the painting or making creative interpretations of modern art. What matters is you are spending time with your loves and sharing the holidays

8. Play a game together: Play a game of flag football, have a holiday yoga party at your house, sing karaoke in your apartment. Share your holiday joy with the ones you love most!

 

We hope you take the time to spend your holiday a little more intentionally this year. Instead of running through shops, bargain hunting online, give the gift of your time and attention to the people you care about.

We know that most things on the list you can do anytime of the year, but you can also buy gifts any time of the year! If there's any time of the year that you can slow down a bit and take time for your loved ones, it's the holidays!

Up for a challenge? Do one of these things every weekend in December. We'll be surprised if you're not feeling cheerier by the new year! 

Thanks for reading! 

p.s. if you're done everything on the list, feeling cheery and bright, and still want to buy something special, you can of course browse our our collection of curated luxuries.

xoxo Rue Saint Paul