Guidelines to make your Christmas shopping a whole lot easier
With Christmas coming up, I’ve started thinking about presents. Sometimes I can let myself get pretty overwhelmed with it all, feeling like I’ve bought it all before, they’ve got everything they need anyway, and it’s going to cost a bomb. And so I’ve been reminding myself of a couple of things I know both from research and my own experience, that promise to make Christmas shopping this year a whole lot more fun.
The first is something I know from research and have seen verified in reality many times. Material goods become normalised very quickly. They are exciting when first received but can quickly become one of many and lose their appeal. Experiences on the other hand live on. There is the excitement that comes from looking forward to something, the enjoyment of the experience itself, the sharing of the experience with others, and the reliving of the experience afterwards, through remembering, telling others and through photos. This means the joy that comes from giving someone an experience can live on for weeks, months, years or even a lifetime.
The second thing I’ve reminded myself is that presents don’t need to cost a lot. One year while on a budget we bought several pots and a couple of bags of potting mix and planted some seeds. Come Christmas Day we had pots full of ready to eat salad greens to give our loved ones, a gift that kept giving for the rest of the summer for them. And the most enjoyable gift we ever gave someone was also one of the cheapest. We gave our friend ten bars of gourmet chocolate we happened across on special in a local store. We knew our friend loved chocolate and would enjoy them a lot, but instead of just giving them to her wrapped up normally, we gave her a scavenger hunt. This sent her around her house and neighbourhood finding clues which she needed to decipher in order to find where the chocolate bars were hidden around the house. This generated a great deal of laughter and hilarity, and given one clue proved particularly hard to decipher, there were many discussions with friends and workmates to try and discover the location of the last remaining chocolate bar, and these lasted a couple of months. It’s a story we all laugh about to this day, and a present that therefore lives on.
The other present that seems to go down well regardless of who it’s given to is photos. They’re something that evoke memories and remind us of good times and the people we love, so rather than being just an object, they’re a reminder of something far more important.
So in considering great gifts to give those you care about this year, think about not only what things they might like to receive, but also what experiences they might like to receive. That could be a special meal, a weekend away, a fun day go karting or a scavenger hunt around the garden. And consider the photos you have of them and their loved ones, both recent pictures and ones from further back, photos which would put a smile on their face. Enjoy finding something meaningful for them and for you, which can live on long after Christmas Day.