Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tips for the Holidays

I'm going to take a quick break from politics and talk a little bit today about the holidays. For most people we're in that time period where we're rushing around buying gifts for everyone on the holiday list. My first suggestion is that if you haven't already seen it, take 20 minutes to watch this video Annie Leonard put together a few years ago about "The Story of Stuff." It would also be interesting to watch it with the kids and see what they think.

Cass Sustein has some helpful tips as you shop. I'll let you go read them for yourself. But he ends with some pretty good advice.
For the holiday season, many of us focus too intensely on how other people will react to what we get them, when it may be the mere existence of the present, rather than exactly what it is, that most matters. Unless you are dealing with someone who really cares about what you get them, you should worry a lot less (and maybe spend less, too).

A few years ago, my sister declared a family moratorium on Christmas presents for anyone over 15 years old. We all celebrated...Instead of giving people more gadgets, ties or bowls, tell them that this year, you’re going to make a donation in their name to a charity of their choice. Can you think of a better way to show the spirit of the season?
On that last suggestion, I found a wonderful alternative a few years ago - TisBest Philanthropy. At that site you can buy a gift card for people on your list. But instead of spending it at a store/restaurant, they go to the site and chose a charity to donate it to from a list of over 300 charity partners. What a wonderful way to teach children about the role of philanthropy!


1 comment:

  1. My family actually does the same thing as Sunstein's. It started when my daughter was in grad school and couldn't afford Christmas and asked that she not receive presents in return. After a few tough years of withdrawl, the whole family has embraced the idea. Our "Christmas money" goes to a charity and I don't have the stress that is related to finding the perfect gift. Christmas is now a time of relaxation and enjoying my family. Only my two granddaughters receive gifts now and those, at the request of their parents, have been scaled back.