So here we are…Christmas and the New Year have come and gone. Through 2017 we will be presented with many more opportunities that traditionally warrant some kind of gift. How do decide what to buy as a gift? Do you buy practical gifts? Do you chose by the desire of the person receiving? Do you ever think outside the box?
As consumers, we buy an astronomical amount of material goods. It appears to me that as the years go by, the expectation of gifts at Christmas and other times like birthdays have changed at an alarming rate to be based more upon quality and quantity. Is this concerning to anyone? Many of he gifts I have received have fallen in the “want” category rather the “need” category. This can be really fun, but can easily become excessive.
Another factor to consider when talking about buying material gifts is technology. Technological gifts are hot items this year and years past, and unfortunately, I do not see this slowing down any time soon. Advances in technology appear to be endless, and the expectations for new technology continues to change and creates an exploding demand. This demand is especially present in our youth. I believe that this is one of the main contributing factors with youth not getting outside and many of the negative issues we see in our youth today.
There is a solution. I don’t believe that this is just a solution to problems, but I also think that it is just an overall good idea. Have you ever thought about getting away from buying material things as gifts? What do the material gifts do for us? Do they define you as a person?
While listening to NPR the other day, I was asking myself many of these questions. The radio show I was listening to quickly inquired about the difference between material gifts and experiences. The idea of experiences as gifts at any time of the year is very intriguing to me. This idea should intrigue you as well.
If you have followed this blog in the past, there is a good chance that you read Happy Birthday to Me. This describes one of my favorite gifts, a trip to Tennessee that my wife planned for us to fish the Great Smoky Mountain National Park for my birthday. Trips with my wife and family to fish remote places have been some of my favorite experiences of all time. This is just one example of what I am trying to stress here. There are endless ideas for experiences that can be substitutes for material gifts. It can be something close to home like going to a movie or a camping trip at your favorite state park. It could also be something far away like going over seas or it could be a trip to the mountains. Regardless of what you decide, there are benefits that out weigh those of material things.
When you share an experience with someone that is close to you, it will be with both of you forever. A material gift has a lifespan. You may lose interest, it could get broken, or completely forgotten about. Experiences are different because the memory lasts forever with you. The joy that an experience brings to you will most likely never go away. When I think about it this way, an experience can be considered priceless.
Next time you are thinking about getting a birthday gift or planning for christmas, think outside the box. Plan something new and exciting. Go somewhere you have never been, or do something you have never experienced. Trust me…it will be worth it!
P.S. This does not mean that you should replace all material gifts with experiences. Many children and adults like to receive something in hand from time to time. I find great joy in watching my son’s reaction to material gifts and to his experiences outside.