Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.
-King Whitney Jr
Our kids have grown and the gift giving mode in our household changed this year. Instead of buying expensive gifts for each other, we bought tickets for the family to go to New York City. We’re spending our Christmas holiday there.
Christmas is just so commercialized now-a-days and the older the kids get, the heftier are the price tags for the gifts they want. We put our foot down and decreed that we will make memories this year instead of subscribing to materialism full on. Instead of buying each other gifts, we wrote a check to help Red Cross on its ongoing hurricane drives and donated some to USO to help deployed young military people pay for their airfares.
Thorstein Veblen was right on track about his conspicuous consumption theory. We are ashamed to admit that wewere once caught in the waves of consumerism and technological ostentation. We went to the department stores/malls and braved the holiday crowds to get that perfect gift for each other. We spent so much money on things that did not even give us joy after a week of having it.
This is not a change of philosophy because of necessity. We are at the point in our lives where we can go out and get what we want if we want to. We reflected on past Christmases we’ve had that were centered on the material bounty and we want to take a step towards what we hope is a higher plane. We still want gifts but we want those from the heart.
This year, we will try to celebrate Christmas’ real meaning: sharing, giving, and togetherness. We will make memories to be treasured for eternity. We hope our kids will take their children on vacations at familiar places and say, “Your grandfather and grandmother took us here and we did this.” Each of us is giving each other the gift of time so we can share a memory-making adventure together.
For friends and families: we bought consumables, baked cookies, made personal gifts and we’ll be visiting some. For our nephews and nieces: we got them gift cards from their favorite stores. Yes, that is all we are going to do this year. It is actually liberating to do away with all the holiday spending. We look at people who are frantically searching for that perfect store bought gift for that special someone and feel sadness welling in us. We were once those people.