In the midst of juggling parties, plans for hosting and holiday travel, how do you pause and make time for meaningful gifts at the holidays?

One of my favorite gift giving holiday memory was the year where we each picked only one name at Thanksgiving and we had to make our gift.

At first, the concept was a bit intimidating. But the creativity and love that came shining through was unlike any other Christmas. Gift giving that spanned the generations (youngest participant was 5) and gave us a chance to pause and appreciate. From homegrown and homemade jalepeno salsa, a beautiful watercolor painting, compilation cd of favorite music, an original framed poem from a child, knit scarves and a 'memory lane' photo album-it seemed to be gift giving the way it was intended.

The pressure was off to find 16 meaningful gifts and we just focused on one family member, our own inventiveness and the true spirit of the season.

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