We as a society are encouraged to consume… even if you can’t afford it, consume!! It’s sad. So many people live in debt trying to keep up with what society leads them to believe is a way of happier living – the more you own, the happier you are. The fact is, most people are trying to fill a void in their lives or themselves that shopping will never fill.
My husband and I rarely exchange gifts. The reason is simple, we don’t need anything. We buy what we need throughout the year, we enjoy experiences together and we celebrate with spending time together. Gifts don’t represent our love for one another, our everyday life does.
This year, I look at the toys and clothes my 2 year old son already has. He doesn’t need a thing. Yet, family and friends are anxious to buy him Christmas gifts. In all honesty, that money could be spent elsewhere I’m sure. There are many people in need. So why do we keep giving into consumerism as a way of life?
Recently I went to a birthday party for his 3 year old friend. Much like myself, this friends mother is of the same mindset of not wanting to accumulate more clutter of toys in the house, as the kids have more than enough. So she asked that I go without a gift, so I did. It felt weird, but I would ask her to do the same. That feeling got me thinking, why do we feel the need to give gifts that aren’t needed? Society pressures us to show gift giving as the main sign of caring for another person. Reality is, the little boy had no clue we didn’t bring a gift for him. My son and him enjoy each others company immensely and they remain friends!
I recently read The Gift of Not Giving A Thing online and it suggests the giving the gift of time, love or experiences. In the long run, children will not necessary remember a certain toy they received, but they will remember an experience. Think about it. There are tons of gift ideas that are possible without giving a thing. I’m not saying children shouldn’t receive any gifts at all, I just think there is room to focus on reducing the items we give or receive and replace it with love or experiences.
This Christmas I encourage you to re-evaluate the gifts you give and receive. Are they necessary? What if you changed things up a bit? Focused on teaching the kids how to help others in need, went to a hockey game, went on a road trip, watched a movie together or just hung out. My son loves when people come to visit him. I know it means more to him than most of his toys!
Focus your energy on the things that really matter the most: helping others, showing love, spending quality time with family and friends and enjoying life!
The Gift of Not Giving a Thing http://www.crawltheline.com/2013/09/the-gift-of-not-giving-anything.html