101 Changes: Change 18- Heal The Hurting Heart

I am writing a series of posts about small changes we can make it our life to make our daily living and health improve tenfold. If we try to make huge changes, it is often difficult sustaining it and we have sense of  failure but small changes made slowly becomes habits if done over and over for 21 days.

These are changes I have made or working on it. Would you like to join with me in this journey?

Check out previous 101 Changes Article: 101 Changes: Change 17 – Help Someone Even In Bad Economy

————————————————————————————————–

Life is funny in a way, as we do get most hurt by people closet to our heart, and not by someone whom we barely know. People close to us, be it close friend, sibling, cousins, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, parents, can hurt us emotionally, sometimes with words and sometimes worse. We are going to talk about hurt by words, an emotional hurt here.

How to heal, when you are hurting and move on, when it is hard and you do not want to? I wrote a post not too long ago about being Have you gotten hurt , it was and is very hard for me to deal with.

We can not prevent of getting hurt by other person, as it would be impossible unless we lived alone in woods. But we can steps to minimize the pain and move forward. How so? Let’s explore.

1. Write down in journal or write a letter to them (Do not mail it, or give it to them, just write it for your eyes only) Write everything down you feel. Talk your feelings to someone else who will understand and not judge you. If you can not find/trust anyone to listen, that is okay, you can talk to a stuffed toy or picture of your friend and let it know how you are hurt and how it is making you feel in details.

2. Once your initial anger/frustration is out, you can try talking to a person who hurt you in person. Make sure, timing is good for both of you and there are no other distractions. When you talk, keep flow and mind open. Do not accuse or attack person but talk about situation in focus. Once you talk, listen to other person’s explanations. It simply could be that person, never realized that he/she was hurting you.

3. Once you talked your feelings out, see how genuine other person’s feelings are. If they are truly in dark or truly sorry, you can forgive and be friends with them slowly.

4. Sometimes, most of us are not so lucky, and other person may not feel they have done anything wrong and they accuse you instead. Try to remain calm but firm in your beliefs. Sometimes, you may have to walk out on that relationship for short-term or permanently, if you think it will not work out.

When relationship ends, it hurts a lot, specially, if you have invested so much of your time and efforts and your kids and their kids life have intermingled. Make a choice and stick to it, as it is not easy to do. Remember, your pride and dignity is important too, once you let someone walk all over you, they may do it again. Truly forgive them but you can choose not remain friends.

5. Forgive yourself for your feelings, it is okay to cry (yes, for guys too) but do not blame your self ,if relationship does not survive. One can not clap with one hand, you will need both parties willing to work out situation.

6. Friendships and relationship with people are complex as human emotions are complex. All of us want to be liked but sometimes, we can not please everyone. Do what you feel right for you and follow your gut feelings. Do not stop making new friends because old one hurt you. Sometimes taking a risk will benefit with new friendship that will be better suited for you.

No matter what happens, try to be open-minded and calm and try to resolve situation first. If you have hurt someone by mistake, tell your apology from heart, if you think you were not wrong, explain your situation and tell them you never meant to hurt them. All of us like to keep relationship intact but when it is not possible, move on without feeling guilty or blaming yourself.

Life teaches us new things and sometimes we became a better person because of it.

Do you have a story to share? Good or not so good ending? How would you handle your hurt emotions?

101 Changes: Change 17 – Help Someone Even In Bad Economy

MysBlr 440

I am starting a series of posts about small changes we can make it our life to make our daily living and health improve tenfold. If we try to make huge changes, it is often difficult sustaining it and we have sense of  failure but small changes made slowly becomes habits if done over and over for 21 days.

These are changes I have made or working on it. Would you like to join with me in this journey?

Check out my last 101 Changes Article here: 101 Changes: Change 16 – Declutter For Better Life

———————————————————————————————————————–

When economy is down, most people stops giving to many worthy charities. Often people will help with food, money and time during Christmas time, but come January and most of us are busy with our lives and our new year resolutions.

As there are more people and charities that need help during this down economy now, how can we help, when we are strapped with money woes ourselves? There are a few ways, let’s explore.

1. Give your unused items to homeless shelter, or pet shelter. They are always looking for blankets, stuffed toys, coats and other clothing items. There are low-income pregnancy organizations can take your unwanted maternity clothes, baby clothes and baby items. A few organization may take your business clothes, for getting low-income people ready for new job interviews. Many charities take car donations too.

2. Give your time, many places can use volunteers to help out, specially shelters, temples, churches, or local community centers. Many places you can help out with answering phone such as PBS or crisis hot line center for abuse and suicide.

3. Bring hot cooked meals to community centers, senior citizens, your neighbours who might be sick or just had a baby, or homeless person near by your area.

4. Give unused toys to hospital, or community preschool for low-income family.

5. Help not only your close friends, family, but also strangers, animals, birds and insects. Compassion for all lives. For example, put up bird seeds for you local area birds and water bath near by for them.

6. Trust family and friends when they ask for small loan. Give amount you can afford as a gift and tell them it is not a loan. Many times good relations goes bad when loan comes into a picture.

7. Give blood donation to someone who needs it.

8. Volunteer in your local library, local free tax helper, deliver meals or groceries to people who can not drive themselves. Volunteer to watch your family or friends, kids sometimes giving much-needed break to their parents.

9. Did you know you can donate unused miles, credit card points to worthy causes? Find out and pick the one you choose.

10. Little help goes long ways too. For example, pay some one’s parking meter, when they run out of the time, pick up trash and put in trash bin, help someone while waiting in line at post office, doctors offices and other long lines. Smile and say hello to strangers.

I am sure there many other creative ways to help others without big money. Would you like to add other suggestions? How do you help during bad times?

Also see: 12 Ways to do Random act of Kindness

Thank you:  Power Of Gratitude

101 Changes: Change 16: Declutter For Better Life

win1

I am starting a series of posts about small changes we can make it our life to make our daily living and health improve tenfold. If we try to make huge changes, it is often difficult sustaining it and we have sense of  failure but small changes made slowly becomes habits if done over and over again for 21 days.

These are changes I have made or working on it. Would you like to join with me in this journey?

Check out last 101 changes article here: 101 Changes: change 15: Get Beautiful With Nature’s Bounty –Avoid Chemical Laden Creams and Make Up

Having clutter around not only cost us our money but also our piece of mind and happiness with it. Your house might be filled with piles of books and magazines you mean to read it, the smaller size clothes in your closet when you get back to your college weight, every toys that kids got from family and friends, many bills are just a few of example of clutter that most of us go through in our lives. Kitchen, bathrooms and office are worst places in a house for clutter to pile up easily. Instead of you owning the stuff, your stuff ends up owning/controlling you. Here are few ways, clutter cost us more than we bargained for;

  1.  You misplace bills to pay or check to deposit in your huge piles of paper. By the time, you find anything, bill is past due and check is no longer cash-able (after 90 days). You have just lost money and added interest or fees on bills too.
  2. You buy item, only to realize months later, that you had that same item in your storage pile somewhere in the house. It was hard to find and hence forgotten. Sometimes, you may buy same items a few times over the years, not remembering, costing you more money.
  3. You panic when someone called for unannounced to visit, as it will be overwhelming to clean up clutter in such a short time. Either you are embarrassed when company comes or choose to do less social inviting on purpose, either way you are losing social life with friends and family because of your clutter.
  4.  You do not want to come home as cluttered and messy home does not make you feel better. So you tend to eat out more often and do more outside shopping to make yourself feel good, adding clutter to your already cluttered house.
  5. You may think it is wise to put all extra storage in storage place, leaving your house cleaner. However, you may pay $50 a month for your junk and your house slowly begins to be cluttered again.
  6.  You may lose your valuable time finding things in the house. You may search every morning your car keys under the stuff pile, or you may find that food in your fridge has gone bad, wasting food and money both. Your self-esteem may take hit.
  7.  You are not living your true potential life, due to all clutter. You are waiting for some miracle to make it all better, clutter robs you from happiness. A happiness you get when your sink is empty and kitchen is clean and your bills are paid on time. You will get so much joy once work is done and you can truly relax and enjoy your home.

Is clutter costing you in some ways? In future we will look at a few ways to get started on path to simplifying and de-cluttering.

Finding Inner Peace Within You

 

mytified

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world … as in being able to remake ourselves. “— Mohandas K. Gandhi

There is a lot of information about how to “do something”, or how to make “more” money or how to get “ahead” in career in internet. While, I think it is important aspect of life, many of us forget how important it is for us to be peace within ourselves.  There is no happiness that comes from finding peace. Lot of people in past have tried to find enlightenment or being content and finding peace within themselves. I admit, I am nowhere expert, but I am working striving to achieve peace within myself. In new year resolution or goal, you should do that too. Because it is like satisfaction like no other in our life. Imagine, you’re thirsty and have not had any liquid for 6 hours, you will get that thirst quench satisfaction from cold simple water than any other liquid drinks, be it soda, milk or juice. Water is simple enough but it quenches thirst more, same way peace within us gives us happiness glow that no other things in life can provide.

Finding peace is simple but not easy in modern world as we are constantly striving to be better, constantly trying out-do our own past performances.  While there is certainly an advantage to better yourself, but doing it constantly may leave some people tired and worn out.

Ways to Find Inner Peace Within You

Here are 4 simple ways that I think peace can be attained by anyone who truly wants it. How?

1. Let go of expectations:

“Let go of expectations and live the life you’re destined for. Peace comes only when we are true to our soul’s nature.” unknown

One of the biggest thing that I have to work on is to letting it go of our expectation of others. We as people have an expectations from our family, friends, co-workers or people we may not even know. For example, in past I have expected that if I invite someone for dinner or pay for someone’s lunch, they should be returning the favor by doing same for us. It seems simple and may be reasonable enough expectation but that have led for me to disappointed a few times. Not because people I know are rude or thoughtless, it is because other people are busy in their and may not think they have to follow-up favor or anything might be a matter.

Same things go for making time for calling people, thanking people for hard work and effort, we as society are so busy and bogged down sometimes we may forget to appreciate what is good around us. By letting go of expectation, we can certainly let go of the hurt feeling, resentment and bad vibes that can ruin a good family bond and break away years of friendship. It is easier said then done but I am working on everyday to let go my expectation of people, so I can choose to have peace for myself.

2. Declutter Stuff, Data:

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” — Hans Hoffman

And the cost of a thing it will be remembered as the amount of life it requires to be exchanged for it’. – Unknown

I can speak from my example, as we have kids so we often get so much stuff piled at home, mostly kids toys and art work. We also had some gifts from friends and family that we would never use, but could not give it away, because it was given by loved ones with effort. Our house size grew smaller as our stuff increased and living and maintaining became harder in a few years.

Our computer, and paperwork filing also piled up. Once we decided we needed to simplify and declutter our stuff and data life. It was hard start, but once me and Zenguy started decluttering and letting go of stuff, some brand new also gave us so much mental relief which is hard to describe. Once we simplified and let go of stuff, we had more space in our house, kids were actually able to play and enjoy with a few toys that we kept, we were able to find things quickly. This is ongoing process as stuff have strange ways of keep coming back.

Having more stuff means more to maintain, so letting go of stuff we did not use and keeping only things we use daily gave us so much space and mental freedom and mental peace. Try it yourself and see how it changes your stress level to lowest level.

3. Avoid Power Struggle and Control in Relationship:

“Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat.”
― Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Often time, we want to be in control of our life, our house, our career and our destiny. Having perfect and harmonious life the way we want sounds good but that may not be someone else’s idea for harmonious life, which can lead to power struggle and frustration. For example, a friend of mine likes clean house like most people do, however she goes through mini heart attack whenever there even a little mess by her family in the house, so people in the house have learned not to do anything or play with messy things to avoid melt down. That may make be her happy temporarily, but for rest of family or visitor is like walking on egg-shell if they mess up.. That can NOT be good for other people in her life but she often times does not see it.

If your own mental peace comes at cost of other people’s peace, it will not be truly satisfying. Because making others happy and peaceful is more sustainable peace in my mind. Letting go of control and power struggle in any relationship and making others happy will not only give others mental peace but it will make you content feeling and inner peace that will glow in everyone around you. I was and up to some point control freak so I know what I am talking about, I have learned how to let go of control from Zenguy and slowly improving to improve my life and for those around me.

4. Forgive Others:

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

It would be truly Utopia, if we lived in a world where no one hurt other person and lived happily ever after. However, even I feel people are generally nice, sometimes we get hurt by them. Often times it is UN-intentional and other times lack of awareness on their part, as given a chance no one truly want to be a bad person who hurts others. At least that what I hope for.

Keeping resentment and hurt in our mind, we expect people to change their ways to apologize and we would say “No Problem” and back to being normal as before. However, it is worse when some people may not even realize that they have done something wrong or have hurt you and that is hard for person who is hurt.

One should forgive a person not because the person may deserve it, you should do it for YOU deserve it. You owe a chance to yourself to be happy and peaceful. So, let go and forgive and forget the situation so you can move on and live the life you meant to live.

Hope you achieve and find inner peace within you!

Gifts from heart during Holidays

Christmas is around the corner and many of us share or exchange gifts with friends and family around this time. Many times, these well meant gifts from people, after a few days or weeks, goes unused in some corner of our house and life. How should we give gifts that can be well liked and used by the receiver? Often time, it is possible to do with little thinking on our part. We will discuss a few type of traditional and not-so traditional gifts to give and receive.

1. Give gift of time

Giving gift of time is cost free, but very helpful. For example, give time for babysitting to someone who has small kids, so they can nap, go out or do something they like. You can take your elderly neighbor shopping, who may not be driving well. You can visit someone who is sick, deliver food, help someone with cleaning up their house, garage, mow their lawn etc., possibilities are endless. Make sure you know some tasks that may require longer time, volunteer and offer what you truly can, otherwise you and receiver both will resent it.
Sometimes, just listening others and being there in their time of need is more appreciated than any store bought gifts.

2. Gift of experience

Zenguy used to fly small plane, it has been a while since he has given up this expensive hobby. However, he has taken me and other friends, relatives on city flying tours and it has been wonderful for all of those who received it. You do not have to fly a plane, you can someone to a Museum they always want to go or subject they wanted to know more about. Cooking together also works, I cook meal with R, who makes mess of kitchen but it is a experience he will remember being part of. Watching stars, going camping, learning and doing something together will remain in our mind, long after, compared to silly plastic toys or gadgets.

3. Home made gifts

Simply made handbags, cookies in jar, soups in jar, hand made sweater or blanket, quilt has much more meaning to recipient. Here are some suggestions for home made gifts ideas from web.

Gifts and Crafts from a jar

50 home made gift ideas from the web

Free crafts and gifts made by you

4. Other suggestions

a. Give cash instead of gift cards, as some of the gift cards charges hidden access fees and expires as months rolls by.
b. If you buy store bought gifts, take gift receipt to recipient, so they can exchange freely without being guilty.
c. Ask them what they truly need or want before buying something you “think” they want.
d. Give partial or all money towards a big items they want/need to buy.
e. If you have large family, draw up names so every one needs to buy one or two gifts only, instead of 22.
f. Consider giving to others less fortunate people than you, charitable donation does not need to waited for Christmas time, and can be done through out the year.

Gift Free Christmas

How to celebrate Christmas without money

No Christmas gift this year has unique ways to letting your friends and family know about no gifts and suggesting alternatives instead. Check it out.

Remember, giving gifts from heart is more important than any expensive item. If we can not pay it with cash, or have money to pay when credit card arrives, we should not purchase it. You can celebrate Christmas without money or gifts and still have great time with family and friends.

Check out:

10 ways to help someone during bad economy

20 ways to be Romantic for Free (or cheap)

How to have Stress Free Thanksgiving

White Friday No shopping day

Meaningful Holiday Celebration from Heart, not wallet

How do you celebrate holidays with friends and family? What do you like or dislike about the gift givings? I sure would love to hear from you and your suggestions.

Zengirl

50 Way To Increase Your Income & Earn Money

Pon_TVM_Guru 059

Pic Credit: Zengirl

Many of us are working at a job for pay bills and save money for the retirement. However, after paying bills, insurance and daily spending very little is left for many people. Right now with economy being down, many people are laid off, or getting paid less in their current job.

Many of us are looking for ways to make money on side to boost our income a little or a lot. There are a few ways which are relatively easy for any of us to make extra money. Now, none of us will be able to retire with these ideas or be a millionaire, but it will sure increase a nice boost to your income. Check it out, many are easy to do for any of us.
Ways to Make Money In Hurry

50 Ways to Make Money

Here are 50 ways to make money and boost your earning income to comfortable level.

1 Do online surveys. Many online surveys pays as little as 10 cents to 5 dollars. There are many surveys are out there to try it out. Beware of the one that asks for fee, try only free surveys sites. You can do surveys online or via email.

2. Sell sometimes from home which are not using. You can sell your stuff on craigslist, ebay or amazon. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. You can make good amount depending on type of stuff you have. If you have any collectibles items, you can make good money. A friend of mine sold his baseball cards to make $950, not bad for something sitting in his closet. Sell only things you do not care for or not interested in.
Offer to drive someone around for little pay. Sometimes you can drop off people to airport, or pick up groceries for them and some of them will pay you $5-$20 for it.
3. Go around in neighborhood and ask them if the need lawn mowing done. You can go with a buddy and clean up yard for $20-$50 per yard.

4. Clean houses, sure it is not glamorous but cleaning house for a couple hours can make you $70-$150. Most of the area people need cleaned are bathroom and kitchen. If the house is super messy, you can ask for more money for it.

5. Give Blood, many blood banks are always looking for blood donation. It can be helpful to someone and you can make some money out of it. Check out everything before you donate your blood.

6. Write for online places such as hubpages or squidoo. You can make some money while writing about things you know. You do not need to be a great writer, good enough writer will do. Click here to join HubPages and Squidoo here. It is free to join.
7. Baby sit your neighbor or relative’s kids. If you like kids that is the great job to do. If you get a babysitter license, you can watch kids at your home and make a good full time income from watching 2-5 kids at home at once. Not bad.

8. Pick up children from school service is great as many parents are still at work when kids gets off the school. Parents need someone to pick up kids from school, and drive them home and spend couple of hours with them until they get home. These kids are usually older and can take care of themselves so it is good potential of making extra money.
9. Start blogging, you will not make money right away as it takes sometimes but blogging can be a good income source for many if done right.

10. Rent a room in your house, if you have an extra room that you are not using. That is great way to have income coming in without doing much work. You can set some rules as you see fit for your lifestyle such as no smoking inside the house, no late parties and so on. You can rent room for $200 to $700 per month, depending on where you live.

11. Teach English to adults and kids. Many times people want to learn proper English and you can teach them and it is a good way to supplement your income.

12. Paint street and house numbers: These painters have a block to paint numbers for street or house number and you can make $10 or more for painting each house on curb side. I recently paid someone $15 for my place and found out this can be done by anyone.

13. Recycle metal, cans and make extra money. If you are using lot of cans and metals, you can take it to recycle and make some money by doing it.

14. Paint houses, lot of people are looking for someone to do the work of painting the house. Painting house is relatively easy once you move the furniture and have supply at hand. It can be a great boost for additional income when money is tight.

15. If you love taking pictures, put your pictures in photo sharing sites, some of them you can earn money if someone decides to download it and use it for their website or print media.

16. Write for others: Many people are not great writers and looking to buy articles they need in specific niche subject, you can earn money by writing for demand studios or about.com.

17. You can always look for odesk, freelancer sites to see what are people looking in services, if you can provide those services that is a great way to make easy cash money.

18. Sell your hair for cash. Many people need real human for making wigs. If you have a long hair you can sell it for money, and your hair eventually will grow again in no time.

19. Take dogs for walk services. Many people are too busy to take their dogs for walk, if you have time and like being with dogs, then this is a great way to get outdoor and make some money along with it.

20. Deliver newspaper: There are still many people who are getting newspaper delivered to their homes. You can do small or large route and make money delivering newspaper as an adult too.

21. Fix computers for others: If you are computer savvy and know lot of installing and fixing minor computer problems, this has a great potential as many people are looking for ways to get help for computer related problems.

22. Invest in stocks: If you know what you are doing and know your stuff well with help for right people, tools, you can make good money in stocks. I am still learning but I know a friend who has made a good profit playing the stock market wave.

23. Sell your gold. Many of us have gold stuff that we do not use or care for, selling it to a reputable company can bring some cash to you. Do research before sending your gold anywhere.

24. Land your voice: If you have a great radio voice, you can do voice over for many companies or individuals. Good and easy way to make extra income.

25. Odd jobs as needed: One can shovel the snow, washing a car, cleaning a rain gutter, small handyman type of job will help make extra income in short amount of time on side.

26. Help people move: If you have a van or truck, you can be hired locally to move stuff for people and you can charge people by mile or amount of stuff they have.

27. Become a mystery shopper: Mystery shopping can be fun, as you can shop or dine to check out the services and file a report. Generally you do not get paid for items unless they are food in restaurant. Generally you will get paid $10-$20 per project. Look for mystery shopping opportunity near you.

28. Deliver Phone Books: You can deliver phone books to various neighborhood to supplement your income.

29. Start a small business from home: If you have some ideas for a business, start one from home, alone or with a friend. There are many business ideas to choose from, go with what you know.

30. Put your saving goals in high interest yielding account to make easy passive money.

31. Create a CD ladder: Here is a idea on how to create a CD ladder to earn more money from your interest on your savings.

32. If you use credit card, use reward cards that gives back percentage of spent amount of mileage for traveling, it is a great way to earn money from something you use anyways.

33. Tutoring kids for various subject such as math, science, reading or something you know.

34. Teach music: if you know how to play piano or how to play guitar, giving lessons from home can boost earning for you.

35. Search for bonus and freebies for signing up. Many times, banks and other companies may offer some bonus or freebie to open up an account for you, some time as high as $100, look for these deals.

36.Write an ebook on subject your know well of and sell it online.

37. Look for missing money and where is my refund sites to check if you have any money in it that you can claim.

38. Deliver Pizza; Most people order pizzas Fridays and in weekend, so if you get a part time job during that time, you can earn some money plus make some extra on tips as well.

39. Do car valet services: you can offer to park cars for popular restaurants, hotels or resort and make good money on income and tips.

40. Sell bottled water and cookies during fair and cultural event for profit

41. Sell your nicer stuff on consignment stores; Nicer clothes or nice stuff can be sold for higher prices at consignment store.

42. Use cashCrate for making some extra money.

43. Get free or cheap stuff from friends and resell it at higher price, after repairing and updating the pieces.

44. House sitting: Taking care of house related stuff while owners are short or long term vacation can be a great boost of income as well it can be free rent for you.

45. Be a guinea pig: Many times when new drug or product comes out, the pharmaceutical companies need to test the outcome, so if you are brave enough you can check out these opportunities for easy money for a few hours or long term work.

46. Sewing and alterations services: If you know how to sew and have a sewing machine at home, you can do small to big job or sewing new clothes, pillow cases, curtains and so on and you can make money doing alterations for expensive clothing for many people.

47. Be a Nanny: Nanny job is different than babysitting, as you will be watching only one family kids either at their home or yours. Many times, these nanny job comes with free rent, food and income to stay with the family.

49. Adult Daycare services: Many times elderly people or people who are sick need looking after and there are many opportunity out there for adult day care service jobs.

50. Have a garage sale for unwanted items, specially in spring and summer month. You will get rid of clutter at home and make money at the same time.

How To Simplify Gift Giving During Holidays

This is repost edit from previously written article on heart and mind.

Recently, I got an two email asking similar type of questions;

Hi Zengirl,

I like to simplify gift giving during Christmas, we have large family between both me and my husband, total of 9 siblings and 17 kids total, not counting cousins, friends and office workers. How do we do it all, without breaking our banks and without hurting anyone’s feelings?

Second email was similar.

Now that thanksgiving is coming up, we told our family members, that we are not going to pool money for Christmas as we are saving up for down payments on our first condo. My mom and sisters seems to be already visibly hurt and upset, as it has been our tradition to pool money each year. How do you do it without hurting anyone’s emotions?

Well, I can see and feel for both of them. It sure is not easy, as in western world, we have associated Christmas as gift giving to friends and family and our media advertisements shows images of happy families opening presents on Christmas morning.

Zenguy and I almost do not give traditional gifts to each other during anniversary and Holidays and prefer more of experience gifts route, but that does not work with kids, our kids like normal other kids loves toys, super heroes, books and puzzles. We as a family do Christmas gift giving to kids and some close family and friends without going totally crazy and tired over holidays parties and gift giving. Believe me there is a middle way, that is not too excessive with 55 gifts each or zero gifts.  Meaningful Holiday Gifts From Heart are always appreciated more compared to expensive gifts that have no values or thoughts behind it.

While, we can not undo years of traditions and mental thinking, we can try to keep bit of sanity, save money and keep ourselves and family happy as we can be; I understand, all of us are different, so pick and choose what works for you.

Simplifying Gift Giving During Holidays;

1. Divide and Choose:

If you have a large family and friend circle, sit down with family and divide and choose 1 or 2 family for gift giving, instead of 9 or more family. I am sure, everyone will be feeling the pinch and cost of gift giving so when you make a decision together as family, hopefully there will be less hurt and disappointment.

Everyone will still get a gift, save money and hopefully, there will be little less stress for everyone as they would have to buy for less people. If you do decide to go through this route, make sure, you divide, adult and kids in equal numbers and rotate people each year just to keep things fresh.

2. Set Buget Limit

If you have a large or small family, set a budget limits for gifts, so everyone is same boat. Someone I know always feels at short end during Xmas, as she buys $50-$75 gifts for kids, while her sister gives $15 gifts to her kids, she feels cheated and resentful. While everyone give according to their budget, if you set the budget limit  to reasonable amount, lets say $25 per gift, than everyone feels equal and satisfied. If you have extra monies, and want to give more, you can do that later or during holidays but no one should feel that they have to match the gift.

3. Give gift for kids only:

Everyone in family can agree that giving gifts to kids and teens only. That may work for some family. Adults can celebrate by other creative ways, such as going out for dinner, watching movies and so on.

4. Give gift of experience.

Experience gifts are going to museum, teaching someone how to ride a bike, cooking class, boat ride, spa massage to local spa, sewing classes, time to relax, adventure outing such as scuba, parachute jumping and so on. There are inexpensive and expensive options for giving experience gifts based on your own budget. The good thing about this option is this experience is remembered long after the holidays are gone and if you match it with person’s interest, it is more meaningful.

5. Give gift of time.

This is my favorite as mother of 2 young boys, I am short on time, so if I get some free, alone time it is like a million dollar gift to me. I am sure, there are plenty people who could use more time in their life. This is most underused gift can do wonders for tired parents, or someone who is care taking of an older parent or sick child. It could be simple enough to buy groceries, drive them, cook food for them, hire cleaning person or do bit of housecleaning for them. You get the idea. The recipient will remember this gift help long after these plastic gadgets gift most people give.

6. Have options:

If you can not do other options above or feel you must have gifts you can choose homemade inexpensive gifts, or inexpensive store bought but useful gifts to people around you.

a. Frugal Gift giving:

You can choose Gifts under $25 for every age, for all taste: Gift Ideas under $25

I am too lazy to do black Friday shopping early in morning, but my younger brother get most of his shopping done on black Friday, where there seemed to be lot of deals happening, so you can buy it on Friday after thanksgiving.  There seems to be lot of Black Friday online shopping deals, for those who wants to avoid shopping.

Best idea that I personally use, that I shop for gifts throughout the year, whenever I find good deals, not only for Christmas, but also for birthdays and anniversaries. It makes my life bit easier.

b. Homemade gifts and other ideas:

There are so many ways we can celebrate and give giving. Check out: Gifts from heart during Holidays

c. Give to gift cards

If you truly do not know what person would like, or they have everything, give gift cards to amazon, or their favorite book store or movie store. That way, they can buy what they like, when they like. They do not have to worry about returning unwanted gifts and you do not have to worry about going through mad rush in to over crowded stores during holidays.

d. Give gift to Charity

You can give gift to local shelter or charity on behalf your family member, and give tax receipt to them in a envelope. It is win win situation in many cases. People may feel good about helping and keep clutter away from home.

e. Give with gift receipt.

If you buy anything give with gift receipt, so the recipient can go return or exchange it if they need. Do not feel personal, if people decide to return, exchange or re-gift your thoughtful gifts. It is surely not you, but it is personal thing. When in doubt, always ask person what they like before spending time to find perfect gift for them as people taste in things can change as with many of us.

7. Focus on “Giving”, not taking

True meaning of any celebration is giving and togetherness of family and friendship. Make sure you focus on togetherness, by spending quality time when eating meals together, opening gifts, or singing songs. Create memories of watching movie together, or joking, decorating a tree, or whatever you want your holidays tradition to be.

You can download my ebook for FREE here: Meaningful Celebrations

Create memories, Be together with family without smothering them and you will have one joyous celebration and tradition! It is all about people.

13 Ways To Be Compassionate

Pon_TVM_Guru 065

Elephant Sanctuary: India  Photo Credit Zengirl

How do we feel and treat other with compassion? Maybe you see someone struggling to carry large bag, do we help him? Maybe someone is feeling dizzy and fainting, do we rush to help or move on our way hoping she will be alright? If you hear a small child crying in grocery store, do you feel annoyed or do you feel bad for mother or father and ask them if they could use help? On flip side of the coin, what if you were offered the help, and you get annoyed by them? Are we ready to offer and ready to accept help and compassion in this society without being judged? I sure hope so.

I believe most of the people are good natured and kind hearted and ready to offer help but somewhere along our hectic life, we may become annoyed at others, or we think our privacy is being invaded when someone offers the help. However, we can still live our life relatively fine and help others and accept the help from others. Here are a few ways to be compassionate and helpful.

Ways To Help Others and Be Compassionate:

  1. Trust others, most people are nice and not out there to hurt you, or con you.
  2. It is good karma, what goes around will come around.
  3. Try to think of it from their perspective, really, walk a mile on their shoes before judging them.
  4. It will make you feel good.
  5. Someone who you helped will be truly sending you best vibes/wishes your way. It may make
    your life better, somehow.
  6. The person you helped will be inspired to help others, starting a chain of “pay it forward” goodness. Can you imagine the impact of it?
  7. Truly listen to person or people asking for help, before saying no, yes or even maybe.
  8. Be open minded.
  9. Do not just help person in suit, or good looking girl/boy, help someone who needs help, regardless of religion, looks or status.
  10. Do it from heart, without any expectations.
  11. You may pass it on to your kids, spouse, or friends, being nice and kind that is.
  12. . For little time and effort the feeling of satisfaction you may get will be 10 fold.
  13. Just do it, you are helping your heart and soul at the same time.

How do you feel compassionate? Do you help others when they ask? Do you help when they do not ask but yet you see them needing help? Do you feel compassion is important? How do you feel when someone offers you help? Do you graciously accept or act like you have it under control? Some answers may not be easy, but if we think about it, it just may be easier to accept and offer help to total strangers and be happy about it.

Go out and do one random act of kindness today, if you can.

Zengirl