The holidays are here, and for many of us, that means buying gifts for our families and friends. Some of us have to also buy for a workplace Yankee Swap or other group get-together. But why do we buy into this? (Pun intended.) I’d like to challenge us all this year and in future years to stop buying stuff that our families, friends, and coworkers don’t need and instead buy or give experiences. In other words, let’s spend time with people instead of going to a big department store, looking in the sale bin, picking up something that we think will work, and spending money on it. What if, instead of that, we gave the person a lunch-on-me coupon? Or a coffee-chat coupon? Or the whole family could decide to skip gift giving and instead all cook a big Sunday brunch together after the new year? Or the whole family could create a game night where the group meets regularly once a month to play board games? Or whatever it is that you enjoy doing. We spend so much money on stuff that many of us really do not need because we feel that we have to. I realize that some of you are cringing as you’re reading this; maybe you’ve even stopped reading by now because you disagree with me. That’s OK. I’m speaking to those of you who are almost already convinced of this phenomenon. You would like to stop the madness that is holiday shopping, but maybe your spouse, kids, parents, neighbors, or friends still want to give and receive gifts. What will you do to convince them of your idea of giving experiences vs. gifts? How will you talk with them?
What if you said that you don’t want gifts this year and instead you’d like to just spend time with each member of the family over coffee or dinner? You could be the role model. Maybe, just maybe, if you say this, there will be others that will think that that is a great idea!
You could also ease into it by saying that you’d like to give either experiences or consumables. I know some families that do this, and it works well. Family members exchange things like baked bread, wine, chocolate, coffee, and other items that can be consumed; this keeps clutter away. If you come home with items that you can eat or drink, then you know that they won’t last too long. If someone gives you a large vase, when you already own about 10, you then need to find space for it in your home, and your cabinets and closets just become more crowded with stuff. Again, stuff that you don’t need.
You might not be buying into this idea, and that’s OK. You might just want to think about it for a little bit though. Think about avoiding the malls and the big super stores; how does that sound? Nice, right? No traffic; no searching endlessly for a parking space; no angry shoppers; no rude people; and no stress. That sounds like what we all need for the holidays: peace. Happy holidays!
See you in the new year!