I will not be going shopping today, or tomorrow, or even the day after. In fact, besides gas for my car and food to eat, I hope to not buy anything for the next thirty days; its just stuff. If you really want to show someone how much they mean to you don’t give them some stupid present; some piece of disposable garbage that will get shelved 24 hours after its receipt, spend time with them. Look at it like this, money is replaceable, most of us get more of it every two weeks. Time though, time is precious and you only get that moment once in your life. Sure, someone will argue with me and say that old adage that “time is money” and by spending money on someone ergo facto you are spending time, but I say a big EFF That!
I’ve lost people in my life, and I would give all the money I have ever earned, I would give all of my possessions for the opportunity to eat just one meal with them; to be able to hear their stories, to laugh at their jokes, to make eye contact and smile. I would give up everything to spend time with them. Would you?
We’ve screwed up the whole gift-giving thing. The act of giving presents isn’t about the actual commodity, the act of giving presents was originally an excuse to get everyone together and spend time with one another. That message has somehow got lost. It’s no longer about the people; it’s about the presents. In my small group of friends (I have 3), we do in fact exchange presents. They are usually stupid, embarrassing presents involving t-shirts with a fighter-pilot eagle on it, or a ninja costume. The point of our gift giving isn’t about the gift though, it’s to humiliate each other and laugh. It’s about spending quality time together.
So the point of this blog is to convince you to reframe your ideas, rethink what the point of giving presents is all about. While you’re focusing on getting that perfect gift for someone, reconsider your stance. What do they really want? Is it a plane ticket home to see their family for the holidays? Is it a dinner where all of you can re-cap old stories. Is it just a moment where they can look into your eyes and smile? Is it the gift of time?
Gifts are cheap and quickly forgotten; time is precious and will last forever.
P.s. this holiday season I’m going to be writing a lot about fair trade, refurbished, locally produced, recycled, upcycled and all of the other wise spending choices. If you don’t like that kind of stuff, too bad… it’s my blog.