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Give more meaningful gifts this holiday

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At this time of year, we often hear a lot about Americans' collective spending. While those statistics are economically interesting, our focus should really be on giving instead.

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This may be a little late for many of you, but for those of us who still have shopping to do, here are a few thoughts on giving meaningful gifts this holiday season.

n Give only what you can afford. Giving gifts beyond our means not only hurts us when January rolls around, but it simply isn't authentic. Our financial situation is part of who we are, and when we represent ourselves as having more than we actually do, we create an inaccurate image of ourselves. Be truthful to yourself and those around you. Stay within your means.

n Consider consumabl-es. Give gifts that don't hang around to clutter the home later. Experiences, such as concert tickets or spa services, make great gifts that the recipient will remember for a long time. For more ideas on giving experiences rather than gifts, visit Ms. Simplicity's Areavoices blog at mssimplicity.areavoices.com.

n Remember that the gift is for them, not you. Make sure you give the recipient something that they will love, rather than something you love. Even those gifts that seem benevolent -- such as gifts to charities in honor of our loved ones -- can sometimes be about what we love best, not what the recipient loves best. It should be obvious to keep the other person in mind, but we've all received gifts that were more about the giver than us. Try not to do that to others.

n Move beyond the gift card. I have teenagers, so I get it. But if possible, try for something a little more thoughtful, too. Think about giving a small item with the gift card. For example, a favorite candy bar, a bookmark or an ornament would add some personality to your gift giving.

n Have fun! Giving gifts should be a joy. If it isn't, then something isn't right. Take some time to figure out what's bugging you and fix it. Perhaps you're spending too much, giving something that you know a person doesn't need, or only choosing a gift because it was on a person's wish list. If this happens, adjust and do what feels right for you when selecting gifts for the ones you love.

Carolyn Baana is an associate certified coach with the International Coach Federation. She blogs about career and life success at carolynbaana.areavoices.com.

Want to start your own blog and be featured in the West Central Tribune or on wctrib.com? E-mail areavoices@wctrib.com.

At this time of year, we often hear a lot about Americans' collective spending. While those statistics are economically interesting, our focus should really be on giving instead.

This may be a little late for many of you, but for those of us who still have shopping to do, here are a few thoughts on giving meaningful gifts this holiday season.

- Give only what you can afford. Giving gifts beyond our means not only hurts us when January rolls around, but it simply isn't authentic. Our financial situation is part of who we are, and when we represent ourselves as having more than we actually do, we create an inaccurate image of ourselves. Be truthful to yourself and those around you. Stay within your means.

- Consider consumabl-es. Give gifts that don't hang around to clutter the home later. Experiences, such as concert tickets or spa services, make great gifts that the recipient will remember for a long time. For more ideas on giving experiences rather than gifts, visit Ms. Simplicity's Areavoices blog at mssimplicity.areavoices.com.

- Remember that the gift is for them, not you. Make sure you give the recipient something that they will love, rather than something you love. Even those gifts that seem benevolent -- such as gifts to charities in honor of our loved ones -- can sometimes be about what we love best, not what the recipient loves best. It should be obvious to keep the other person in mind, but we've all received gifts that were more about the giver than us. Try not to do that to others.

- Move beyond the gift card. I have teenagers, so I get it. But if possible, try for something a little more thoughtful, too. Think about giving a small item with the gift card. For example, a favorite candy bar, a bookmark or an ornament would add some personality to your gift giving.

- Have fun! Giving gifts should be a joy. If it isn't, then something isn't right. Take some time to figure out what's bugging you and fix it. Perhaps you're spending too much, giving something that you know a person doesn't need, or only choosing a gift because it was on a person's wish list. If this happens, adjust and do what feels right for you when selecting gifts for the ones you love.

Carolyn Baana is an associate certified coach with the International Coach Federation. She blogs about career and life success at carolynbaana.areavoices.com.

Want to start your own blog and be featured in the West Central Tribune or on wctrib.com? E-mail areavoices@wctrib.com.

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