It’s that time of year again—the most hectic time of the year, that is. As you start looking for ways to simplify the holidays, you may want to reconsider the conventional ritual of gift-giving. Have we all been needlessly complicating the whole thing?
According to Rochester Institute of Technology professor Dr. Michael Laver, our gift-giving culture sprang out of a commercial push rather than a celebration of goodwill. So while you should still feel free to give gifts, consider taking a more thoughtful route this year.
A recent CNBC report shows that people are spending more time, money, and energy to consume experiences, not things. It’s time to rethink traditional gifts as the default Christmas present. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Rally the Troops
Get your family members, friends, or colleagues together and make an agreement: Instead of exchanging the usual roundup of small, generic gifts, pool your resources to get something you can all enjoy for years to come. Electronics and appliances like the internet-connected Sonos PLAY Wireless Speaker System from Newegg or a community popcorn machine are crowd favorites. A creative group gift doesn’t just delight each person individually, but it also helps simplify the holidays for everyone involved.
Deliver Joy All Year Long
Know someone who delights in a certain product or service? Give them the gift of a subscription tailored to their interest. Kids would love a regular delivery of slime from a Slime Box subscription, courtesy of LivingSocial. Your shutterbug teenager might enjoy a subscription to PrintFix from Shutterfly, where up to 50 of their smartphone images are automatically printed into a book and sent every month. Adults may appreciate getting their fashion fix each month or a subscription to a wine club.
Give the Gift of You
Forget brainstorming what thing to get that special best friend in your life. Those closest to you would likely prefer spending time over getting stuff, so give the gift of a shared adventure. Let your loved one unwrap a gift card from Belk accompanied by a note that says “Let’s hit the sales together this Saturday.” Or, book a stay in New York City to take in a once-in-a-lifetime performance at Carnegie Hall.
Tickle the Senses
One final way to combat the gift-giving culture of consumerism in favor of experience-giving is to engage your gift recipient’s senses. Introverts may appreciate an at-home spa retreat in the form of a Sonoma Lavender Bath Gift Set from 1800Flowers.com, while a tea enthusiast may relish the enticing aromas of a Harney and Sons Chamomile & Lavender Tea Gift Set.
These ideas should get you well on your way to more outside-the-box gift-giving. How will you simplify the holidays and send a more lasting message this season?