Yes, material gifts are satisfying, but they are short-lived. What we really remember forever is what we live, how we live, and who we live with.
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We have spoiled the meaning of Christmas. We transform a tradition that invites reflection and personal renewal into a circus of costs and materialism. Far from bringing us peace and happiness, this creates stress, anxiety and a lot of debt. With the Good end in Mexico and the Black Friday In the United States, the season officially started when we literally went out to buy good luck, or in other words, Christmas presents.
And while most believe or affirm that happiness cannot be bought, in reality we are acting like we can actually find it in stores. For us and for others. Ah! I forgot that Cyber Monday. Before we get into Christmas shopping, let’s take a quick look at what science has found out about money, consumption, and happiness.
Can money buy happiness? The answer is, it depends. When money is not enough to meet basic needs like food, home, education, clothing, or health, living happily is an important element. But once the basics are covered, the extra cash doesn’t necessarily make you luckier.
Material gifts provide short-term satisfaction because we get used to them quickly and they have a bubbly effect on happiness. On the contrary, generating the money we need for purchases takes long hours of hard work. The return on investment is very low. What if we find alternatives to giving gifts that have a greater impact on happiness and less of an impact on our budget?
I share some ideas with you.
- Spend your money on experiences. Give an experience that includes to do more than to have. For example a walk, a dinner, a class, a trip to the stadium, a concert, books to read. Laughter, anecdotes and emotions are relived when we remember them or see the photos.
- Free time. A few years ago my brother, who was having a baby of a few months at the time, told us when we were organizing the family exchange, “Give me an 8-hour continuous night, a meal that I can sit in from the start Finally or a trip to the cinema with my wife ”. Who can you give time to have some fun with?
- Give kind actions. We can be generous with our presence, attention, affection, words, knowledge. Give away your business, remove someone’s earring, create a job opportunity, connect two people, call, write this email, make yourself available.
- Share gratitude. We often break our heads wondering what to give to our loved ones. Today I realize how difficult it is to find a material gift for those who have everything. How would it be better to write a thank you letter? How about if you take the time to let them know how much we love them and list the many qualities we admire in them? How about realizing the contribution they make in our lives?
I started thinking about the memories I have of Christmas and there aren’t any of what they gave me. I just remember vividly my mom baking cookies and I put my hands in the batter. My father leaned out the window to warn us if the reindeer came by, the Advent wreath that came with its 4 uneven candles for Christmas. I also remember how much fun my brothers and I had, splashing wine into the turkey on the night of the 23rd, the smell of food that flooded the whole house since the morning of the 24th, the music, the table setting of the Table, warming up.
As much as I search, I cannot find anything curable in my memories. What stays in the heart is what we live, how we live it and with whom we live it.