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Christmas Giving: As Easy As ABC! By Barbara Wrigley, MSOD, PCC 

As a Life Transitions Coach, I’m aware that one of the toughest transitions to face
is when our children leave home and because of distance, work responsibilities,
and the realities of sharing time with in-laws may be unable to make it back for
Christmas. As my sons have grown and grandchildren have come along, there are
now some years when Christmas morning will mean only the two of us sitting by
the tree and in front of the fire (albeit at a later hour and perhaps with a Bloody
Mary in hand!)

Like many of you with whom I’ve spoken, my partner and I have been longing to
simplify gift-giving and reduce the over-spending that has become an appalling
part of and burden in our culture. We’ve struggled with how to cut back without
feeling we’ve diminished the joy and delight that makes Christmas morning
memorable. So, this year we are going to experiment. We’ve created a new gift
giving system we hope will be easy to remember, challenging, meaningful, and

This new system has six parts, or six gifts – A, B, C, D, E, and F, each letter
representing one thoughtful gift to one another.

A is for Apparel. Our first gift to each other will be an item of clothing, but one
we’d usually not buy for ourselves. Underwear is definitely out! But a thoughtful
sweater or jacket or robe would fulfill this category. On a budget? Think
whimsically decorated socks!

B is for Book. Granted we are not voracious readers; however, we appreciate
having a good book next to our living room chairs. We will select one book based
on a theme or area of interest, or from a beloved author, or it could be a best
seller we’re pretty sure would make a lasting impression.

C is for Charity. Christmas is always a time for caring and sharing with those less
privileged. For this gift, we will each make a donation in the other’s name to one
of her favorite charities, or we’ll select a child’s name from the local Angel Tree, or
purchase something from an Alternative Christmas Market. We will write a
heartfelt note about the donation and finish it off with a bow.

D is for Desired item. Here’s the opportunity for us to give and get a gift we truly
desire. But it has to be a surprise! Each of us will make a list of a half dozen gifts
we would really love to have, then on Christmas morning one of them will have
found its way under our tree.

E is for Experience. Here’s the biggest chance to express our creativity and have
lots of fun. The gift might be anything from a special night on the town, a tour of a
local distillery, or tickets to an upcoming show. It might be trying something new:
a hot air balloon ride, seeing the town on a Segway, or a weekend at a bed and
breakfast on some unfamiliar beach. On a budget? How about a bike ride to a
sunset picnic in the park with S’mores?

F is for our Family. We are first and foremost, our own family, even if there are
fewer of us living under one roof. This last gift will be something we both want to
share, something we have likely talked about getting “when the time is right.” It
could be something for the house or yard like a small appliance, some new beach
towels or an exotic plant; something we have longed for like cozy flannel sheets;
or something fun to share like a new game or a special bottle of wine.

That’s it. Six gifts. Apparel, Book, Charity, Desire, Experience and Family. A
shared system that’s easy to remember and flexible based on your budget and
traditions. Make it your own! And make it memorable! And I believe that it will
make for a very very Merry Christmas!

To learn more about Barbara and her work as a Life Transitions Coach, please

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