Monday, September 23, 2013

Stress-Free Holiday Challenge Step 4

Join us on our quest to get all of our holiday shopping done by October 31st, so we can actually enjoy the holiday season with our friends and family.

At this point, you should have a fully formed list of all your gift giving recipients, chock full with ideas and plans of what to get each of them.  If you're like me, you may have a number of people on your list that you've put "know it when I see it" or left blank or something similar.    For a handful of people, there isn't a specific gift or even a general idea that comes to mind.  I swear, I'll know the item is perfect for them as soon as I see it.

So, here's the thing:  "know it when I see it" is kind of a cop out.  Yes, it happens sometimes -- as I'm out and about, I do sometimes see something that is just right that would never have crossed my mind.  But more often than not, I don't see it,  it becomes crunch time and the pressure of last minute shopping sinks in, which oftentimes results in a less than meaningful gift.

Here's what I'd like you to do:  at least write down a couple of places to look for these people.  Maybe you don't have an idea of what to get, but you have an idea of where to get it -- places that might have something just right for them.

Next, make a list of the no-brainer gifts on your list.  These are the ideas that you know are just perfect, you know where to get them, and they are going to be easy to tackle.  Take care of the no-brainers this week -- go out, get 'em done, cross them off the list.   This accomplishes at least 4 things.  First of all, it gets you started, which can sometimes be hard.  Next, it gives you momentum -- what a feeling of accomplishment to actually have some gifts under your belt, so early on!  It's going to get you in the spirit as well, as you'll also have that feeling of joy when you think about gifting the items in your shopping bags.  Lastly, it gets you out there, which is just what you need for those "I'll know it when I see it" people.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Stress Free Holiday Challenge Step 3

Join us on our quest to get all of our holiday shopping done by October 31st, so we can actually enjoy the holiday season with our friends and family.

Ok, you've got your holiday list pulled together.  You now have an all encompassing list of each and every one of those individuals you'd like to give a little something to this holiday season.  Don't have your list pulled together yet?  Feel free to utilize a helpful spreadsheet here.  Don't like spreadsheets?  Neither does Meme -- she's sticking to her guns with paper and pencil (not ink, pencil).

This week, take a little time to write some notes regarding any ideas you may have for your recipients.   For example, I know I want to get my nephew a kite for Christmas this year.  I'm a little more ambiguous with my niece but I know she wants something dark hot pink (not just pink...).  You get the idea -- write it down, whether it's the exact gift, or just the gist.  Get it on paper, so you don't have to spend energy letting it roll around in your head.  Plus, I'm a firm believer that when you free that mental space, it opens up area for new inspiration to appear.

What would that perfect item be, that would bring a smile to their face?  It might be something they've had their heart set on or something they didn't even know they wanted.

Don't have an idea for every single person on your list?  Don't worry!  For one thing, we're hosting a Wishlist event* next week, here at Initial Attraction.  As a result, we might just have that silver bullet that you're looking for, on file for one of your friends.  (It's always good to lead by example as well, so be sure to stop in and fill out a wishlist for yourself).

Having trouble coming up with something?  Brainstorm with your partner in crime  (remember, that friend doing the challenge with you?).  You can also post for inspiration on our Facebook page or right here on our blog.   If there's one thing that Meme and I have learned it's that you all have a wealth of incredible ideas to offer.  We've all been in similar boats before -- what to get the teachers this year that will truly demonstrate how important they are, what to get that person who has everything, what to buy for the guy (that's not boring brown),  etc. 

Meet you back here next week!

*September 22 - 29 2013:  Make a Wishlist.  You've had your heart set on Waxing Poetic or Juliska, or all of the above (and more!).  You know you want it, but do they?  Get just what you want this holiday season (and let us do all the work!).  Create an Initial Attraction Wishlist 9/22 - 9/29 and we'll send coupons to those you think should know about it (making gifting even easier).   We'll keep track of what's been purchased and when (no dupes!).  Do NOT shop for your own Christmas gifts this season!  Make a Wishlist and we'll take care of the rest.  (Think about how much you would love to have a wishlist like this to shop from, then lead by example!).

Holiday Gifting Checklist

Need some help keeping track of who you want to give to this holiday season?  Check out our helpful checklist below.  I created this in excel, which allows me to add cells (for additional recipients or gifts, etc.),  as well as giving me the ability to use the calculating functions to keep track of my spending.

Don't like spreadsheets?  Neither does Meme -- she's sticking to her guns with paper and pencil (not ink, pencil).

Found another, better way to plan for your gifting?  We'd love to hear it!  Share your idea in the Comments section below.

Holiday Gifting Spreadsheet
Name Gift Ideas  Stocking Ideas  Proposed Budget Check Mark if Purchased Actual Budget    
Mail Person              
Garbage Collector              

Let's Do Something Magical

Today is the last day of business, before we are officially closed at 6:00 pm, until we re-open in Oakwood Plaza on Tuesday, September 17th.  In the meantime, we hope that you're pulling your holiday lists together and getting excited about joining us on our Stress-Free Holiday Challenge.  We've had so much positive feedback regarding our goal to get all of our holiday shopping done by October 31st, so that we can truly enjoy and be present for the upcoming holiday season.  In fact, we'd love to hear who's joining us in the Challenge -- give us a shout out on Facebook, let us know who you're doing the Challenge with by tagging them, and tell us what you're most looking forward to in getting your holiday shopping all taken care of!

Today is the last day of business before we are officially closed at 6:00 pm, until we re-open in Oakwood Plaza on Tuesday, September 17th.

Before we begin our endeavor, I wanted to take a moment to share something personal with you about the true goal behind this Challenge.

Every year, throughout the year, and especially at the holidays, Meme and I continually hear about how everyone already has so much stuff.  We could not agree with this sentiment more.  Our goal in this Challenge is not to just buy stuff to get it done.  Rather, it's allowing the space and the time (before things get so crazy during the holidays) to find something that is perfect, and to be able to thoroughly enjoy the experience of giving. 

I'm a firm believer that gift giving is an art and a social grace, much like the art of receiving something graciously, or thanking someone genuinely.  I see it as an unwritten ritual to be taught and passed down, much like etiquette.  I can't wait to take Alice shopping for birthday gifts -- not her own (well, those too!), but for her friends, when they get old enough to invite her to their birthday parties.  I'm so looking forward to teaching her the ritual of taking the time to pick out something special, just for that person, as a way to honor them.  I'm looking forward to seeing how she interprets the idea of choosing something that the recipient will love, and that she will love giving to that person just as much.

So, I think it's important to take care, in our efforts to simplify, de-clutter, and avoid "the stuff", that we don't throw the baby out with the bath water and lose sight of some of the deeper values of a tradition such as gifting.  Gift giving can be magical.  When done well, it strengthens ties and creates connections, memories and experiences.  When done well, it is definitely not about stuff.

Our goal at Initial Attraction  is never to contribute to "the stuff", but rather to provide you with unique items that you don't see elsewhere in Kalamazoo to surprise and delight you and the person to whom you may be giving.  We want gift giving to be fun again, not just a go-through-the-motions, cross-that-person-off-the-list purchase.  We want to elevate gift giving to an art again, not a chore. 

Our Stress-Free Holiday Challenge is an attempt to accomplish all of the above and be able to enjoy the fruits of our efforts.  Because what's better than having the time and opportunity to find that perfect gift?  Being fully present to enjoy the gift of giving.  We truly hope you'll join us.

Stress-Free Holiday Challenge

Picture this.  It's early November, the weather has cooled and there might even be a few snowflakes here and there.  Thanksgiving is coming with more festive holidays to follow.   You've got family and friends gathering soon, decorating to be done, traditions to be revived.  Wouldn't it feel amazing if you had your holiday shopping all done?  Just sit with that for a minute -- think about what that would really feel like to have found the perfect items for everyone to whom you wanted to give, all before the holidays actually begin.

For me, it feels like being able to spend more time with my family, especially when things are so festive and special.  It feels like not needing to be out shopping during the cold weather and wet snow.  I can see myself actually getting to bake and decorate the cookies with my family, enjoying wrapping the packages and making them pretty,  savoring the moments, really getting into the spirit and making memories and new traditions, instead of feeling driven by my to-do list.  I feel more present (no pun intended!).

Maybe this is how the holidays always feel at your house (for which Meme and I give you HUGE credit, as the holidays NEVER feel this way for us).  So, Meme and I have issued each other a challenge:  to have all of our holiday shopping completely done by 10/31/13.  We're calling it our Stress-Free Holiday Challenge, as the goal is to enjoy the holidays this year, not get stressed by them.  We invite you to join us in this challenge.  We've never done this before (goodness knows we've talked about it a lot!), but our goal is to make this easy and fun.  We'll be sharing our tips, tricks, and ideas, and we invite you to share yours as well.

So, grab a friend (you can do it alone, but it will be much more fun (and manageable) to do with someone else),  ponder your list of recipients (and put them all on there -- teachers, your mail person, everyone you typically give to.  We're tackling the big and the nitty gritty) and we'll meet back here next week.