Isn’t it strange how every now and then you come across something that just totally confirms what you were just thinking?? Well, that’s exactly what David Wofle’s article about people who spend money on experiences instead of things did for me. Are those people happier people? I, too, love nice things, but with Christmas fast approaching it has occurred to me AGAIN (I think of it every year but never act on it) that it would be so nice if this year could be different. If part of our gift giving could be just what this author suggests: an experience rather than a material object. What a spectacular thought! The possibilities are endless! Instead of a present for your elderly relative, the gift of your presence once a week or once a month or whatever you can offer, cookies in hand ready to just sit and visit. Instead of expensive presents for your spouse and children, a trip carefully planned with everyone’s input, to somewhere everyone would love to go. Wrap a travel brochure to put under the tree. Purchase your souvenirs for young children ahead of time at the dollar store if need be in order to keep expenses down. Instead of a present for your spouse, the gift of a date night once a week or once a month for some period of time to places he or she would like to go. Or a weekend away once every couple of months to spend quality time together and have something to look forward to. There are so many possible variations on this theme, the imagination runs wild. Spend as much money as you would have spent on a present. Or if money is tight, think of creative ways to give the gift of YOU. Your time, your attention, your willingness to listen and talk. I’ve often thought that one of the best ways we can raise children who are thankful (i.e. not spoiled) is to show them how wonderful it is to GIVE. Let them give the gift of their time or their help. Even young kids can help weed a flower bed or help clean house or be taken to the nursing home for regular visits with a lonely relative. These are gifts they can give to family and friends and neighbors that cost no money but are so special, as long as they follow through. Anyway, enough of my Christmas gift idea musing. Read the article and see what you think… I think I’ll read it again myself!