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Perusing the online adds (and frankly, seeking the dream cream to miraculously fluff my unruly wrinkles), I began to contemplate the ways in which marketing geniuses are able to hone directly into the public’s vulnerable spots. Each item, and certainly every advertisement is designed to attack our self-esteem. If only I use this “anti-agingskin care product, or wear this anti-sagging undergarment, or eat this and drink that, and buy whatever is being sold I will be eternally youthful (read as “desirable”) seems to be the not-so-subtle message.

The costs are generally not cheap either. A single ounce of promised youth goes for anywhere from a few dozen to several hundreds of dollars. So what can we do about it?  All advertising is designed to make us feel not good enough. As long as we recognize this fact, we can make sound decisions as we quite literally vote with our dollars and cents.

In addition to being a savvy consumer with a securely intact sense of self-esteem, we can use our imaginations to create powerful memories as gifts, rather than pulling out that plastic to show our love or enhance our self-worth.

A good friend of mine who is known by her gifted culinary skills recently remarked at how terribly faded her recipe cards are. The woman is in her seventies and some of those recipes are nearly the same age. A few, handed down from her mother must be ancient. “If only I had the gumption to transcribe all these into the computer…” she lamented. It will cost me nothing but time to make her wish come true.  Imagine her surprise when I hand her not only the computer disc, but also the bound volume that imortalizes her recipes.

The neighbor has gone all out this year; his house is as Griswold-worthy as was Chevy Chase‘s in Christmas Vacation. Noting the fervor with which the neighbor decorated, I snuck over with my digital camera and snapped a shot, capturing the immense illumination in a flash. The glowing picture has been printed out on light cardstock and will be the holiday card they will long remember.

A thoughtful friend brought me a coupon book she had created. Each coupon is good for a specific offer. For instance, one coupon offers to shovel snow, another is good for a thorough vacuuming, while another offers to wash the dishes following the holiday meal. The concept is simple. When you know the things that will help make life easier for another, it really is a no-brainer to step in. Besides, the shared event is a good time for building quality friendships.

There are multiple ways to express love and gratitude without buying into the retail frenzy. Writing a personalized poem, creating an artistic creation, offering a helping hand, baking and delivering a sweet surprise, making a picture into a memorable greeting card, sending a note of appreciation written from the heart. The options are limited only by your creativity.

And when you have drawn on your creativity, you may want to enter a sweepstake or two. Here are some options:

Bonne chance!

Oh, and PS ~You are perfect in your humanness just the way you are.

And PSS ~For a FREE dowload self-esteem/co-dependency quiz be sure to check out out FREE STUFF page: http://parisdaglion.com/free-stuff/

~As always, from Paris with love & light.