RE: Post-Materialist Gifting

The holiday season got me to thinking about gift giving as a practice. Gift giving is a symbol of appreciation that shows understanding of the recipient's unique character and their relationship to the gifter. Unfortunately, much of this intent is lost in the material conventions of gift exchange.

Often, non-physical gifts better suit the purpose of gift giving. Reciprocal appreciation for a material gift is only achieved if both parties share the same value for the object. Let's be honest. we've all gotten something we weren't in love with, and sometimes the gift receipt is the best part of the gift. And lest we forget the waste created by holiday traditions of gifting and wrapping.

Inherently, a non-material gift transcends expectations. Non-material gifts take into consideration how the recipient spends their time and money. By gifting a future event, like a movie date or a trip, you affirm your relationship by promising it into the future. By gifting money or gift cards, the autonomy of the recipient and the gifter's trust are confirmed. Non-material gifts are appreciated because they're either be some thing that you do together with your loved ones or something the recipients get to do for themselves.

I'm not saying these non-material gifts can't have fun symbols wrapped into a box for dramatic effect. I'm also not saying you can't give money in fun ways (like gifting the value of 6 months of Netflix). Event gifts can be simple cooking or crafting with the little ones, or sexy times with a partner. If you have more resources to invest in event gifting, Iceland and South Africa are atop my to visit list.

Because time is a constant in all our lives, the gift of experience is better than the gift of property. It would be a really neat way to tone down the consumerism if families took up the challenge of non-material gift giving this holiday season.

Just a thought.