Wow, it’s been quite a holiday season and now that we are through that time of year when we all stress about what gifts to give, who to give them to, how much to spend, and how our gift will be received, perhaps it’s a good time to reflect on things and think about how we might de-stress our lives a little bit in the future.
Maybe we can adjust our thinking around gift giving with the intention of reducing waste, preserving and protecting our environment, and creating experiences and lasting memories for the people we give to.
Perhaps we can find a way to have a profoundly greater impact if we move away from giving more clothes, toys, and gadgets. Stuff that, frankly, a lot of times will go unused or worse – end up in a landfill.
This kind of gift giving requires some creativity. It requires us to think more deeply about the person to whom we are giving and come up with an idea for an experience that can be shared between yourself and the recipient, or alternatively they can experience alone or with someone else.
For example, I was face-timing with my granddaughter the other day and she was scrolling through Instagram at the same time, like a typical 12 year-old. Suddenly she says, “Oh Grandpa, this is really cool. I really want to do this Soul Cycle spinning thing. Now that I am 12, I am not too young.” So, guess what she received for Christmas from Grandpa? You guessed it, grandfather-granddaughter spinning classes at Soul Cycle. Voila – no waste!
Or how about giving cooking lessons – learn the skills to create dishes with locally available ingredients that when combined will contribute to a healthier eating plan. Or learn new techniques for preparing fabulous gourmet meals for special occasions. There are lots of options with this one. It’s fun to share this experience with a partner or a friend and maybe even drink a bit of wine while you work. Cheers!
Try to imagine the feeling of the person receiving your gift, knowing that you spent time thinking about them specifically and wanted to create an experience that was very personal and special. It says, “I really care”, and the memory will outlast another piece of clothing or electronics that is probably not really needed.
And the best part is we get to do something fun, healthy, and new. It’s a unique opportunity that only we can share stories about – a memorable experience we created together that is just for us. How great is that?
Our world already has too much stuff in it – just look in your closet, basement, and garage. Look at the packaging you throw away every holiday season (and every day!) and ask yourself: is there a better way? Is there some little change you could make that would make a difference in our shared world.
I can tell you that, for me and the people I give to, it’s going to be all about experiences from now on. Let’s all try to contribute less to the global crap pile we have created to leave a cleaner planet for our kids and grandkids.
Happy New Year! I hope 2020 offers wonderful new experiences for you and your friends and loved ones to share and enjoy.