“The more you know, the less you need.”
― Yvon Chouinard
Friends, family and your wallet: the holiday trio that comes in a sudden flash this time of year and urges you to spend. Nothing could be better than your child, partner or friend’s delight from your gift. But nothing is worse than when the present they enjoyed so much at first is discarded after a single use. Cupboards full of holiday cheer, an attic decorated by boxes of paraphernalia, a wardrobe bursting with color, patterns and comfort: all never used.
Mindful giving during the holiday season is a guiding principle. It makes us stop and think about how to put meaning into a gift. The first step is knowing yourself, friends and family - what they really need. Inside the carefully wrapped present is the hope that the things we give are accepted and enjoyed. The same rules apply on a shoe-string budget or a bottomless one. We can always give the best if we know more.
There is a mismatch between what we think we should give during the holidays and what our environment asks to maintain a healthy symbiosis with us. From mountains of plastic wrapping waste to harmful chemicals planted in cheap, imported toys, our environment certainly doesn’t need any more holiday gifts. Make a green wish, and future generations will be given a cleaner environment.
Less means more, but what does ‘less’ mean in the holiday stress and excitement? Gifts that matter are the ones that last and will be used and enjoyed for a long time. The gift list could contain one item, or a pair, that can be celebrated for many more holidays. Quality, health, endurance, and knowledge, designed into the tools we give to others to thrive, fit nicely under the tree.
So, when we go out Christmas shopping this year, we want to ask:
- What do they really need?
- What would help them achieve their goals or help them become a better version of themselves?
- What can they use over the long term?
- What’s the quality?
- Does it contribute to a better system for the environment, animals and humans?
And you, how will you practice Mindful Gifting this season?