Do we need more stuff?
Our consumer culture pushes us to buy more luxuries, gadgets, and gizmos. We feel bad if we don't get our loved ones something.
But many of us recognize that "more" isn't always better. More stuff can add to our clutter. More buying can create financial stress. Sometimes, less is more.
Here are three alternatives to gift-giving this holiday season. (There are no affiliate links.)
Donate in Someone's Name
Every charity and non-profit on the planet pushes for year-end donations.
Instead of buying another funny t-shirt because you can't think of anything else to buy grandpa, consider donating to a worthy charity in grandpa's name.
Compassion International takes one-time donations and recurring sponsorships to help provide nutritious food, clean water, clothing, medical care, and education to children in the developing world.
You can buy a goat to give to a family, changing their economic outlook as much as buying someone a new car would in America. Then you can tell grandpa:
"I got you a goat!"
Operation Broken Silence accepts donations to help the peopel of Sudan, who have been through nearly 30 years of continuous civil war and turmoil. Sudan is especially struggling right now.
"Grandma, you saved a refugee's life!"
In my local area, the Clearwater Schools Foundation collects and distributes money to benefit our students and teachers. They've bought playground equipment, Chromebooks, a photo printer, and more.
Those are just three of many, many excellent charities that anyone would be proud to support.
Gift an Experience
If the children in your life are anything like the children in mine, then they will love their new toys and games ... for a little while.
Then they will develop a favorite or return to an old favorite. Or they will gravitate toward a favorite activity.
Consider giving an experience. Within a few hours drive of my home, we can choose from many unique experiences:
- Ultimate Air trampoline park
- Ryze Adventure Park (a ropes course)
- Skate City
- a broadway show at the Fox Theatre
- concerts and shows at the Stifel Theatre
- St. Louis Cardinals or Blues games
Instead of buying more toys for my nephews and niece, we are taking them along with our son to see Elf the Musical at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis.
Gift a Subscription
Instead of buying more stuff for someone with plenty, consider buying a subscription to a magazine, newspaper, website, or streaming service that the person would enjoy.
Time Magazine, the Washington Post, and the New Yorker would be excellent subscriptions for the news junkie in your life.
National Geographic, Popular Science, and The Great Courses would be perfect for people who love to learn new, fascinating things.
If you're shopping for a non-reader, then Disney+ gives access to a huge library of movies, television shows, and documentaries from National Geographic and others. Wondery, Marvel, and others have subscription-based podcasts.
When all else fails, funding a few months of someone's Netflix, Disney+, or Apple TV account could free up some of their cash to treat themselves.
What Do You Think?
Let me know your suggested alternatives in the comments. Or if you used one of my suggestions, let me know!
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