What if the public started realizing that $100+ jeans, shoes, gadgets, etc, were silly uses of money. that the momentary pleasure of their acquisition quickly fades into craving for yet more expensive silly stuff. Like a drug addict, it takes ever more to get that materialist's high. And ultimately, it often results in a crash, for example, when the spender or cash-cow spouse loses a job and can't pay the credit card bills, mortgage, or decides to divorce the spender, whereupon the shopaholic is left with a house of Gucci and a soul of emptiness.
What if the public realized that the money spent on designer-label frou frou might more wisely be spent on, for example, ensuring that there were six aides in every classroom, that every shut-in senior had a companion, that every person would be matched with a mentor? Would not America's Gross Domestic Happiness rise? Might not there be fewer people willing to commit ethical excesses so they could afford big-bucks accessories?
So in thinking about what Christmas gifts to buy, I commend these options to your attention:
- A donation to charity on behalf of the recipient. One approach: Give the person a check with the recipient line left blank. On an accompanying card, suggest that the person visit charitynavigator.org, which provides detailed information including efficiency on thousands of charities, arranged by category. If the recipient prefers to spend the money on him or herself, the person can write in their own name. Few people will.
- A gift certificate for one or more hours of your time to do whatever the recipient wishes: a massage, tutor their child, organize a messy room, etc.
- If you feel the need to buy a traditional gift, I recommend using amazon.com. It avoids your having to brave the traffic, find a parking spot, and fight the store crowds only to find they don't have what you want. And Amazon has every imaginable item, well categorized for easy finding, at competitive prices, with good customer service. Amazon even offers gift wrapping at much less cost than department store prices.
In case I decide to not post again until after Christmas, Hannukah, etc., have a restorative holiday. I hope you're finding my posts of value.