I’m not much of a stuff person. I don’t have children. And I don’t do a whole lot for the holidays. So I have only a 4 insights on making holidays meaningful in the gifts we give.
1. Give time or experiences instead of stuff. We treat stuff like it’s very precious, time like it’s endless. Actually, the opposite is true. We swim in an ocean of stuff and we have droplets of time. Give some of yours – either via paying for experiences (tickets to go to a sports event together, dinner and a play, etc.) or just meaningful time together (stroll through an art museum, an evening by the fire with candles and a bottle of wine).
2. Buy local. Do you like having employed neighbors and friends? Enjoy diversity of stores and ‘stuff’? Unless you prefer the monotonous predictability of Big Box stores and unemployment, vote with your wallet. I did the bulk of my shopping yesterday at Women & Children First Bookstore in Chicago – independently owned for 31 years and still in business because of people who vote with their wallets (got some great ‘stuff’ too).
3. Support artists. Okay, I guess I have three tips after all! I LOVE supporting independent artists. During the summer I go to art fairs and buy holiday gifts there. I ordered a music CD from an artist whose work I LOVE for a close friend. Have you been to a concert you enjoyed? Step to the back of the hall and buy a CD and put it on your “gifts I’m gonna give shelf.” See some photos for sale at your local independent coffee shop? Buy one for you and one to give away. Support artists!
4. Donate. On my last Big Girl Birthday I asked for donations to Heifer International – one of my favorite gifts to give or receive (what could be more cool than affording life and a living to others!). I also like kiva gift certifcates (to give or get). Make a difference – donate in someone’s name.