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Ditch Holiday Stress and Embrace Your Inner Elf

Friendship employees embracing their inner elf and decked out in their holiday attire.
'Tis the season for good cheer, but being inundated with messages to buy more, give more, and do more can quickly turn cheer to stress. This holiday, ditch the expectations and embrace your inner elf.
Get the kids involved and discuss what traditions and activities are most valued. Decide how to best manage expectations, stress, and resist the urge to compare what you do (or get) with others. Consider how traditions, like gift giving, can be used to make a positive impact.
Here are three ways one Christmas present can be a gift to more than just the recipient.

Chances are you’ve heard about Shop Small Business Saturday. Supporting local businesses all season (and year) will make a lasting impact. Local businesses have unique, one-of-a-kind items that are fun to gift. Plus you have access to experts who can offer specialized service and answer questions during the gift decision process.
$68 of every $100 spent at a locally-owned business stays in the community according to Job security is strengthened for our neighbors working at these businesses, and home values increase in communities with thriving small business.
Environmental health is another side effect of shopping small. You use less fuel by traveling less and not being stuck in mall parking lot traffic.
Local craft shows and events are abundant this time of the year and are a great way to get unique, hand-crafted gifts. There are many options for kids and adults. Toys, soap, clothing, home décor, candy, jewelry and more. These items are ethically made with creative passion. If your schedule conflicts with a local craft show, visit stores that carry local, handcrafted items. Commission a co-worker, neighbor or friend who crochets, knits, or makes candy to create a customized gift. Just remember to consider the amount of time and cost of their supplies to ensure you are paying them a fair wage.
Don’t forget about your local painters, photographers, and other artists. Did you see artwork at Amack’s Well throughout the year that you know someone would love? Did your friend post an amazing photograph on Facebook that would look great on your boss’ office wall? Contact the artist to see if the piece is for
sale or if they offer smaller prints or greeting cards. Help empower them to keep creating.

Who says gifts must be new? Buying second-hand cuts down on the amount of beautiful and functional items that end up in the landfill. You may be surprised at what you may find if you are new to thrifting – new clothes with tags, crystal glassware, games, books, and endless other options.
If you purchase kids clothing for Christmas, thrift stores are a great place to start. Thrift stores are also a springboard for creativity. Turn a basket and a pottery mug into a Chocolate Lovers Dream Basket with chocolate chip cookies, hot cocoa mix, and a bag of chocolate candy for your department gift exchange. You may find a large picture frame that just needs a little paint and a family photo for your parents. The possibilities of gift ideas that could start at the thrift store are endless.

Two school-aged children enjoying a night out at the movies with popcorn and additional movie snacks. Gifting experiences is a great alternative to traditional Christmas gifts.

Gifting Experiences

Looking for gifts focused around an experience?
Here are a few ideas to spark your own creativity.

Game Night. Pick up a few board games at a thrift store, snacks, and a free or inexpensive calendar. Mark the nights on the calendar that will be set aside for game nights.
Art Day Out. Gift an art lesson or create an “art day out.” Pick up the receipent’s favorite art or craft supplies. Add a note to schedule a visit to a local gallery like the Dillsboro Arts Friendship Gallery. See if the gallery
will allow you to stick around and create some art of your own after being inspired.

Pizza and Movie Night. Ask for a small pizza box when you purchase a gift certificate. Tape the gift certificate and movie
tickets in the box, wrap, and place under tree.