5 Reasons to Change Traditional Holiday Gift-Giving
Some traditions are worth keeping. Others almost beg for you to stomp all over them, perhaps none so much as traditional American holiday gifting. If the recession has taught us anything (and this is a big "IF"), it's that many of us are spending way more than we should be. If it's taught us anything else, it's that maybe all of that stuff didn't really matter in the first place.
So why the heck do we continue to mindlessly head out among the chaos and spend a few hundred or thousand dollars on impersonal stuff that we don't even know the receiver will need or even want, while they do the same for us?
I'm not advocating that you ban gift-giving altogether. But I would enourage you to reconsider how you approach holiday gift-giving this year. Here are five reasons why.
1. Nobody Knows What You Need More Than You
How many times have you had to fake liking a gift? It's painful, but we do it. That piece-of-junk kitchen appliance or ugly sweater ends up never getting used. Then you have to live with the guilt knowing that your loved one spent $50 on it for you, and you never used it. When they come over, you leave it out in the open so it appears that you have been using it after all. Kind of sad. You have a chance to end that painful cycle.
2. Nobody Knows What Your Loved Ones Need More Than Them
This is #1 flipped around. Why spend all of the time running around the herd looking for something that you're not even sure someone will like? You're wasting your time and your money, and when your loved one opens up that gift, you know they are faking their joy. Again: painful.
3. Mother Earth Will Thank You
All of this junk eventually ends up in a landfill. The human race cannot continue to exist if our current consume-and-dump ways continue. In giving up the purchase of junk, you're doing the world and the human race a great service. Change has to start somewhere, and why not with the biggest consumer-purchasing event of the year?
4. Stuff is Impersonal
Do you remember what you gave your mother five years ago? Does she?
5. You Don't Have to Give up Giving and Receiving
Just because you are actively choosing to give up the mindless purchasing of stuff does not mean you have to entirely give up the joy of giving. Have a discussion with your loved ones about how you want to handle holiday gift-giving this year. You may just find that they are relieved at your suggestion to try something new.
Here are a few experience gift ideas that you can discuss with your loved ones:
- Events: Buy tickets to a play, an athletic event, a concert, movies, or a musical.
- Night on the town: Treat someone to a nice dinner and a movie.
- Food and drink: There are few things that people love as much as food and drink. Bake a pie, cook a really nice dinner, or buy wine.
These are just a handful of ideas that you might like (with a good chance that your gift receivers will really appreciate them as well). And they all have one thing in common: bringing people closer together through a shared experience.
Doesn't that sound like a tradition worth starting?