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massage therapy musings &
persistent pain ponderings

Holiday Self-Care Series: Rethink Gifts

black and white photo of a wrapped present

Holidays can be wonderful. They can also be hell. Complex emotions and expectations surrounding major holidays can take a toll emotionally and cognitively, often impacting our physical well being as well. This short series offers a few things to rethink. Retool. Refresh. Reexamine. Rejuvenate. With a bit of reflection and modification, we can make the holidays brighter and lighter for ourselves and the ones we love.

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This first article on rethinking gifts. For some, gifts are a joyous and exciting part of the holiday season. But for many, gift shopping, gift giving, or gift receiving tends to float to the top of the stress sludge. There's a lot of layers to it. Expectations. Preparation. Finances. Logistics. Timing. In a moment of quiet reflection, without the constant exposure to ads or catchy jingles or social pressure, you may feel differently about gifts - about what you want and what you want to give.

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One way to ease the stress of gifts is to go small. Narrow down your gift giving to prioritize items that are physically small by default: gift cards, jewelry, sweet treats, books, candles, etc. Reducing the physical space and sheer bulk that gifts can take up while purchasing, storing, wrapping, and finally transporting to the recipient may take a visual load off. Less to haul around seems like a very small change, until you're Tetris-ing everything into your car or carry-on.

Some gifts are big. Others are small. But the ones that come from the heart are the best gifts of all. - Tinku Razoria


Another method to reduce the gift giving strain is to give the same gift to everyone. Get something really cool. Something super useful. Something creative and fun. Or something interesting. Apply it across the board. And you're done. Off your plate. You could add a note or letter to make each one more personal to each person. Rehink giving yourself permission to NOT wrack your brain over finding the perfect gift for everyone you know. It's a lot of pressure.


All shiny and new. Buy three, get two. Gadgets galore. More and more. It's easy to loose sight of the spirit of the holidays when intense consumerism is all around. If it all becomes too much, you can always opt out. Instead of giving or receiving gifts, let those you care about that you have a different idea. Take the cash you would have spent, and give it to your favorite nonprofit, community group, or just someone in true need.

Christmas is about giving from the heart more than giving from the store. - Toni Sorenson


The one thing most of us want more than anything in this life is to be seen, and heard. Giving that gift, and nothing more, can be profound. Let the other person know that nothing you or they could buy is worth more than simply appreciating and caring for each other. Share a song. Share a story. Write a letter. Write a sonnet. Make an apology. Make a craft or art. Have a hard talk. Have a good laugh. Just really listen. Just spend time.

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. - Nat King Cole


Raechel Haller Massage Therapist Holland MI Michigan

Whoa, you made it all the way down to the footer!
And might be wondering... who wrote all these words?
Well hello! My name's Raechel and I'm a massage therapist.

I enjoy researching and writing about pain and wellness; nerding out about sci-fi or Dungeons & Dragons; gardening; sailing; thoughtful conversations; loving my German Sheppard dog; and getting lost in a book. Or two. Or three.

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