A Simple Technique for Gift Giving and Receiving

What do you do when you have enough stuff?  Or, how about more than enough stuff?

In this post, I'll share one ultra-simple countermeasure for a gentle push back on the holiday press for more stuff.

If you're wondering if there is an ideal time to buy something for Christmas or any other holiday, turns out you can actually pinpoint the best day to do so.  Or, if you're a parent looking for the absolute best day to find a toy, turns out that December 16 is historically that day.  Who knew?

The catch is this- what if you don't want those new purchases to clutter up your home?  

Now is a great time of year, Advent- a season of waiting and anticipation, focusing on what really matters.  I find that the "stuff" of the season can add up and eventually produce unwanted clutter.  Joshua Becker suggests a different way, that of minimalism, β€œthe intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.”  

Easier said than done.

Many of us will bring home more stuff in the days leading up to Christmas.  Boxes, bags and gifty sorts of things.  It's all good until it isn't.  My son just handed me an elaborate list of things that he'd like for Christmas including the price range of each item on Amazon.com.  Not that I was any different as a kid but it challenged me to stop, pause and try to provide a glimmer of education.  "You know that Advent is really about our relationship with God, right?  It's not about the stuff when you think about it."  I think I was convincing but did the message really stick?  

It did until the next Walmart commercial came on in the middle of the Patriots game.

I suggest one super simple technique and it's one that I use with my own kids (lists or not).  They may not like it but it does work in terms of helping them understand the value of material goods.  When you get something new, give something old away.  

That's it.  Get something, give something.  

You can do this by re-gifting something but be careful on that front.  Or, you can simply donate it to charity where someone else can really put it to good use.  Giving things away is good for you, says Seth Godin

"Gifts have to be truly given, not given in anticipation of a repayment. True gifts are part of being in a community and part of being an artist.  Plus, giving a gift feels good." (Click here to read what else he has to say about gifting)

Whether you're reading this in December or at any other time of the year, the get something/give something technique works every time.  It helps you to stay focused on the more important things in life like the act of giving rather than the gift itself.  It enables you to detach from stuff one item at a time.

What will you give away this December?