Days 365+63 Xmas trinkets

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Since we are about to start the Advent season (which means most of the USA has already begun decorating and buying for Christmas), I plead with you to wait.

  • Wait because Advent is about waiting, in the dark, for a wonderful person to come, and it’s not Santa Claus.
  • Wait because we serve too many celebrations before their time and it robs us of the joy of anticipation.
  • Wait because I just gathered up the Christmas knick knacks that I plan to take to those second hand places that only care about Christmas do dads the month before Christmas. At other times they seem tacky.

For the record, I found 5 more Christmas stockings than we have kids, 5 unused Advent calendars (at least they can pass for unused), 4 knick knacks, a bow, a white elephant, and one Easter pail. Hey, it was mixed in with holiday decorations.

However, getting rid of Christmas decorations that I no longer want is not the main point of this blog. It’s how did I attract so many useless decorations. How do any of us accumulate gifts that are well intended but doomed to be used several times and then banished to a corner to collect dust. As a public service to gift buyers, I’m offering some tips on gifts for people who really don’t need any more stuff, but you still want to show you care.

  1. Think about the person you love and study what brings them joy.
  2. Don’t buy “obligation gifts” unless it would be rude not to. For these people (co-workers, far flung relatives, etc., give them something consumable – ideally made in big batches in your own kitchen. Money works best for people who have low paying jobs like newspaper delivery people and letter carriers. If none of these work, give them the white elephant.
  3. When possible, give experiences rather than material goods. An afternoon of coloring with a pre-schooler, teaching an elementary school student to play jacks, taking a grandchild to the zoo or a teen to a play. Plan a surprise date with your beloved.
  4. Ask yourself Carolyn Hax’s questions. Does the thing I am about to buy
  • Free up time for someone busy? (Think babysitting, doing a chore, paying for a service)
  • Show support for someone down? (Think bringing humor, music, or companionship)
  • Strengthen connections for someone lonely? (Think spending time, calling, or writing)
  • Provide a pleasant experience to someone who wants for nothing material?

Blessed by Less CoverA question for you – What are the top 2 gifts you’ve ever received? What gift-giving tip would you like to pass on?

PS: Oh Yes, and you can always buy them my new book, Blessed By Less: Clearing Your Life of Clutter By Living Lightly. It comes out December 1, 2013. It’ll give them something to think about.