With the holidays almost upon us it is a good time to start to reflect and plan for holiday shopping. It has taken a while, but I have come to realize that if I put more time and focus in to thinking what to get for a person, I feel more excited about the gift and likely the recipient does as well. One of my goals for this year is to avoid giving things that will end up unused and dusty, or quickly in a landfill. Below are some of my thoughts on the subject.
- As opposed to buying a bunch of toys or other typical gift items, consider giving the gift of experiences. This could be tickets to the water or trampoline park, a zoo or Netflix membership, concert tickets, a music subscription, a date night, a vacation, or a variety of other events. A friend of mine who is now an empty nester, talks about how he used to ask his kids what they got for Christmas last year and they would rarely remember. But if he asked them where they went and what they did on vacation they could quickly recall with a smile on their face. That was part of the catalyst that transitioned his family in to spending more on being together and less on unmemorable gifts. I think this sums up the idea of giving experiences very well, people are a lot more likely to have fond memories of a thoughtful and personalized experience than a standard store bought item.
- Stealing a line from Dick Enrico (2nd wind exercise), why buy new when slightly used will do? I have commented before on how it amazes me the things that I consider junk that people are willing to take off of my hands. It also amazes me the things that are not junk that others are willing to sell. This season consider checking out thrift stores, e-bay, play it again sports, and other second hand retailers. Chances are if you look, you can find you might have your own version of a This and That or Reclaimed by Joy with unique gift items.
- With the above in mind and the idea of investing more time and thought in to gift buying, try and avoid impulse purchases. Make a list, have a plan, and stick to it. And while you are it, bring a re-usable bag and avoid buying gift wrap. In the U.S. alone, 4M tons of trees are turned from carbon absorbing entities to wrapping paper and gift bags. Consider using part of the gift as the wrap (scarf, blanket, etc.) or making a unique gift wrap from ideas on Pinterest or similar.
Now that I have posted this, the pressure is on…. Time to go do some thinking about those on my gift list-