So...not to be alarmist...but...did you know that in the past three decades, one-third of the planets resources base have been consumed and that the average US person consumes twice as much as they did 50 years ago? It is also interesting that the average house size in the US has doubled since the 1970s.
All of this has to do with stuff. We all have a ton of stuff. In fact, we all have so much stuff that we apparently need twice as much room for it as we did just 40 years ago. As I sit here writing I can't help but glance around my office and notice how much stuff I have just in this one little room. I think I would say that all this stuff means a lot to me, but I honestly can't say that I know everything that is in here, so how much can it really mean?
We took our kids to see Santa recently, and they asked for some new stuff. Of course they did, they are kids, but as adults it seems like we should be able to come up with other items to give as gifts to show the people in our lives how much we care. That is what a gift is about, right? How much we care and how well we know the person. There is no doubt that a gift that says I know what you enjoy means more than a visa gift card that screams “I have no idea what you are into or what you need!”
Now I am not advocating that we all sit around and make coasters out of old shoelaces for each other, but it does seem like we could take the time to reflect on what our loved ones are intrigued by and how we could give them a positive experience rather than something else they have to store somewhere. I don’t know about you, but as I have gotten older I certainly cherish the experiences I have had over the stuff I have had, and almost any physical item that means a ton to me is tied to an experience and that item is only as important as it is because of the underlying experience that I associate with it.
Give it a shot this holiday season. Take someone to dinner instead of getting them a gift card to a restaurant (better yet, make them their favorite meal), give them tickets to an event that they would enjoy (in our house we do this a lot for gifts, and then we go with the person we are giving it to), or maybe something you know they like but just won’t get for themselves (like a massage?). The ideas here are endless, and a quick google search of “non stuff gift ideas” will give you more than you could possibly need.
Don’t be the reason that your loved ones have to buy a new house because they have too much stuff, give an experience this holiday season.