“We no longer live life. We consume it.”
~ Vicki Robin
When I was a kid, Christmas was something to look forward to. We’d get a new toy or two, maybe a book (mine was always books), a dress or a t-shirt, socks and undies. The toys would last us for the year, the clothes made up a necessary part of our wardrobe.
The food at the table was a treat. Soft-drink. The drink for special occasions, like Christmas. Lollies and candies and chocolate. All sorts of things we didn’t see much of during the year. It was special and lovely, and much anticipated.
The rest of the year had birthdays and Easter. That was about it for special. That was about it for treats. And that was okay.
Now I live a life where I can have anything I want, whenever I want it. There isn’t much reserved for treats. I have a life filled with stuff. And it’s likely that so do you. So you may be thinking you’ll have to find something I don’t have. Or something cute and irresistible. Something to make me laugh. Something to fill that minute after the wrapping is torn off with appreciation or even ironic horror .
Before your gift gets set to one side, or stuffed in the back of a cupboard, or relegated to a pile to be re-gifted later. Or worse. Binned.
So here’s my list of gifts I’d rather not have:
- No inflatable novelty items for the pool. The ones that hold beer cans or a book or a radio. Or inflatable tennis rackets or giant dolphins or funky big ‘thumbs ups’. It’s fine. I have a towel. I have a floaty thing. There’s only one of me.
- No battery-operated (or even solar) Grannies on Zimmerframes games. Racing Grannies? Who knew?
- No glow-in-the-dark lightsticks to hang around my neck at concerts.
- No executive games or Startrek snow globes or other objects to place on my desk. (Actually, I lied about the Startrek snow globe. That would be cool.)
- No cheap plastic jewellery or novelty items from the local $5 store. We both know it will break on first go. It was only ever going to be destined for landfill. But it got you out of a present for under five bucks. Well done.
- No dancing robots.
- No strange but potentially useful kitchen gadgets that you’re sure I won’t have. You’re right. I don’t. For a reason.
- No USB-powered fake fish aquariums to keep me tranquil while I work.
- No cheap gift sets of anything cheap, because it was cheap.
- No cute puppies or kittens or pet rats. Especially the un-neutered kind. Seriously, do you know how many dumped unwanted pets we see around our farm by Easter?
I could go on. But I won’t. Our planet is struggling because of our consumerism. All of the resources used to make, ship and then wrap the unwanted gift are part of that problem.
A kind thought, a donation to a charity, a newsy letter with updated pics of you and your family, a warm smile and a hug, or a tasty treat are the gifts I’d most value. Home-made food? Thank you! A plant, or produce from your garden? How lovely!
Time with me, a cup of tea, and a proper conversation with a few laughs or a few honest tears from heart-to-heart sharing? A couple of drinks and a barbeque? Best of all.
I have enough stuff. I’d rather have you. Time with you. Connection with you. Put a little food or a beverage into the mix and I’m in heaven.
Please, before you go last-minute gift buying, ask yourself if there is a better gift you could give. One that won’t go to waste. One that won’t harm our planet or perpetuate the factory-farming and dumping of animals.