By Camille Aubin
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Somewhere through the stressful race for presents and endless to do list, we seem to have lost sight of the spirit and magic of Christmas. It’s time to rethink our way of giving in order to regain the holiday spirit.

Holidays can be celebrated in a thousand different ways, regardless of whether or not gifts are exchanged. Take a long snowshoe walk, prepare a traditional dinner, watch holiday movies, or tell each other stories wrapped up in your blankets. These moments of togetherness are worth more than all the gifts under the Christmas tree.

Reviewing the tradition and refocusing our intentions allows us to completely change our mindset about Christmas. If you wish to give gifts, there are many ways to do so meaningfully.

Some will require a purchase, while others may not; for example, you could volunteer your time, offer to walk the dog, babysit, or offer your skills by giving free oil changes or yoga classes. It depends on you and your talents.

Can we standardize the donation of user gifts? 2020 is almost behind us (‘finally’ many will say)! Maybe it’s time to reconsider all those new and costly purchases, while beloved ‘treasures’ are collecting dust in our own closets. Take a tour of your local thrift store without any plans or specific intentions. Who knows? Perhaps little ‘treasures’ of a different kind will suddenly make you think of a cherished loved one and fill them with joy. The happiness of receiving a gift is not dependent on the gift’s value. By doing this, you can make a friend and your bank account happy. Being more responsible and thoughtful with your gifts, make you contribute to a greener holiday season.

Think local. COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on local merchants and local artists, who were left with no opportunity to sell their creations. Let’s stroll the streets of our own downtown and enjoy the beautifully decorated boutiques in the spirit of the holidays before we rush out to the big box stores. You will contribute to the economic health of our community!

Why not include a donation to a cause near and dear to our hearts on our list of gifts this year? Once again, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on almost all organizations, preventing many from holding events and fundraising campaigns. Participate in a fundraiser, purchase a traditional meal, or put together a gift bag for the less fortunate. We’ll make a big difference by lending our help in this weirdest of holiday seasons.