Give a reason to remember this holiday season
By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. December 2, 2014
It’s been said over and over again, yet every year I still see aisle upon aisle of useless garbage in department stores and super markets. The annual exchange of knick-knacks and thingamajigs is the primary reason I get rather turned off by people’s behaviour this holiday season. I see them stressing out, spending money, and swapping items that serve no real function or trigger little lasting memory. It’s been said over and over again, but let’s try it again this year: give an experience, not trash.
The orgasmic thrill of unwrapping presents is a trait so human it might as well be related to the joys of eating; however, gifts do not need to be wrapped. We love unwrapping stuff, but more often than not, after you have left, the recipient of your gift will just have to “deal with it.” Room is limited, and presents quickly become garbage. Unless you are feeding your friends and families’ sick hoarding problems, you are giving them something they don’t need. And if they do need it, they’ll probably buy it themselves.
When I say, “give an experience” or “make a memory,” I don’t necessarily mean buying your friends, families, co-workers, or next-door neighbour a plane ticket to a tropical island; I mean you can take your friend out to lunch, take your parents to the movies, make dinner for your neighbours, or buy a case of beer and share it with your peeps.
It’s not about being frugal—it’s about being smart. I hate spending money knowing that it’s ultimately going to end up in the dump. I know when I’m giving a thoughtless gift just to keep face during the holiday season, and I know that other people do it too. I have nothing against those who claim that buying body lotions, coffee mugs, decorative soaps, holiday gift packs, satirical sweaters, or seasonal plush toys is an act of generosity, but please transfer those generous acts into something memorable or at least purposeful.
We always pretend as though Christmas is a one-day event, but it’s in fact a whole season. Few of us wake up on December 25 and unwrap gifts as if it’s a big spectacle. We have many days to celebrate, we have many days to share some experiences. All we need to do is trade in those hours we allot each year for shopping into hours we can share with the people we care about.
Make some food, plan a trip, take the time, and don’t give something that is forgotten by March.