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The Neocapitalist

Capturing life at the intersection of entrepreneurship, leadership, and the social good.

With so many people being unemployed and underemployed, it’s time to get creative with your gift giving this year. I think it’s a great opportunity to focus on what Christmas really means to you and get back to that.

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The holidays are here and it’s time for people’s wallets to be smothered by all this Christmas “cheer”.  The pressure to buy gifts for friends and family in a recession can make holidays pretty unhappy. It sucks that we already have a tendency to equate our appreciation for our loved ones with the size and expense of a gift. With so many people being unemployed and underemployed, it’s time to get creative with your gift giving this year. I think it’s a great opportunity to focus on what Christmas really means to you and get back to that. Don’t get stressed about not being able to give your brother a Wii.  Take a cue from Mike with the following 3 ideas of how I’m sharing love for little to no money this year:

1- Handwritten letters to friends and family telling them why you love them

This is probably my favorite thing that I did this Christmas. I sat down and wrote a brief but completely honest letter telling six friends why I love them and sent it to them with some candy and a small card telling them my wish for their lives in the New Year. This was such a fulfilling gift to give because it gives you the feeling of gratitude and love that makes you forget for a moment how little money you may have. It took my focus off of the things that weren’t working and gave me a truly endearing way of appreciating the irreplaceable blessings I have in  my life right now. Good people are invaluable. Take time to remind them and yourself why that’s the case.

2-Offer services to your friends and families that they need

My parents uncovered some old professional portraits of themselves that were taken before they came to this country and said they wanted to get them touched up and framed. I’ll be doing this tomorrow for them on photoshop. It’s one less thing they’ll have to spend money on and will help them preserve something they value. I also have a friend who has just become a yoga teacher. We spoke briefly and she voiced some concern about how she would maintain the same amount of money once her unemployment checks stopped coming. I volunteered to come up with some concrete marketing strategies she could use to attract more people to her sessions. These little things, although they may not come wrapped up with a bow, are still devotions of time and energy used to show someone I love them by helping them get something they want.

3-Food! Drink! and Celebration

Tis the season to be jolly so break out the gin and juice and have a damned good time this Christmas. I love food. I love eating. I love drinking. And I love good company. If you’re short on dough, now is the time to seriously put the blackberry down, set aside what your sister did to you last month, and really enjoy the hell out of your friends and loved one’s company. Growing up, everyone in my family in New York used to go to my Grandmother’s house. The women would cook, the men would drink, the children would play, and it is those memories that embody what the Christmas spirit is all about. Forget gifts. Not only that, forget trying to use money or status as an equivalent to love. Just for one night, focus on building an authentically happy memory of Christmas and have a really good time.

So many people are depressed and unhappy about everything they lack. Take time this season to celebrate the things that you have.

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