‘Tis the season of generosity! The holidays – Hannukah is upon us and Christmas is right around the corner – present a wonderful opportunity to let our friends, family and colleagues know how much we appreciate them. Whether you like to cook, write, travel, or rock-out, Mike, Godfrey, Kurt, and I are confident that you’ll love at least one of the things below. Here are four holiday gift ideas from The Potentiality.

John’s gift idea

For me, this holiday season is full of little babies and new parents. Something that new families often struggle to find time for is cooking meals that are healthy, affordable and fast. Putting together a recipe book full of tasty meals that kids love is a fantastic gift because it serves an immediate purpose and it can also be built upon and shared for years (and generations) to come! My lovely wife made one for my lovely sister-in-law and included recipes from their mom, grandma, and great-grandmas, too!

My backup holiday gift idea is to buy your friends tickets to Star Wars: The Force Awakens because it’s the right thing to do. And then go with them and have a wonderful time! This gift will make even more sense when you read my nerd-friend Kurt’s gift idea.

Michael’s gift idea

The holidays throw me off balance. The whole holiday atmosphere along with the year-end pressures of work make this time of year a bit of a challenge for me personally, and one of the best ways I’ve found for getting back to the basics necessities of a happy and healthy life is to go to the source. I get out in the wild, I plan my gardening, and I try to find ways to set myself up for success in terms of maintaining a connection with nature over the next year. That’s why my recommendation for a gift for your career-focused friends is Small-Space Vegetable Gardens: Growing Great Edibles in Containers, Raised Beds, and Small Plots. Author and the gardener behind HeavyPetal.ca, Andrea Bellamy agrees and says, “Gardening is such an incredible stress reliever. After a day logging hours in meetings and behind a desk, getting outside and getting your hands in the earth can really reset your brain. The rewards are simple yet powerful, especially when you’re growing food. And by keeping things small-scale, it’s manageable. You can keep a few pots on your balcony without having to devote hours every week to maintenance.” It’s a great book full of fantastic advice on simple gardening for small spaces.

My backup holiday gift idea is another book. Missing like teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock 1990 – 2001.

Godfrey’s gift idea

As parents of two small children my wife and I are enjoying creating our own evolving Christmas tradition. Each year brings another layer to that with new lessons learned about we value most during the holidays. For example, last year there were waaay too many presents which felt wasteful and pointless. This year we bought a ridiculously large and fat tree that threatens to swallow my two year-old. Next year, I’d like to go with the kids and cut our own – the scraggly-er the better.

And increasingly we’re realizing it’s not about the presents, but about being thankful for all we have and that’s why my gift suggestions are in the vein of ‘paying it forward’. We plan to do what little we can to help with the Syrian refugee crisis by donating to the UN Refugee Agency. Meanwhile, we’re hoping our kids, tiny though they are, can connect and be fulfilled by donating a goat, or a rooster or three chickens (!), or a sheep to families in need in the developing world. We’re going to let them decide by letting them pick via the various options on Plan Canada’s website.

Kurt’s gift idea

There’s been a fair amount of research around gift giving by psychologists around the science of giving. One interesting tidbit that SFU psychologist Lara Aknin recently discussed in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology is that, while people generally prefer giving and receiving gifts that reflect the gift recipient, both givers and receivers feel closer together after a gift representing the giver has been exchanged. That means for someone like me, who likes food, wine and good company – the gift of a dinner party might be the best gift of all to give this holiday season. What’s your passion and interest and is there a way of incorporating it into a thoughtful gift?

Photo Credit: Scorpions and Centaurs via Compfight cc

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