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Resolve to Give Less - Stuff

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Resolve to Give Less - Stuff

All those holiday gifts can be taxing on many levels. Why not resolve to make 2012 a different kind of gift-giving year - the year of less stuff.

Now that the New Year is in full swing, we tend to look backward to remember the year that was. If your backward gaze is settling upon a mountain of new acquisitions hiding under the Christmas tree (that you can’t bring yourself to strip naked), you may be engaged in the perennial search for more space—to store all your new stuff.

It seems many people are giving serious thought to our culture’s habit of accruing stuff. A growing body of scientific research has demonstrated the fact that making money and accruing material possessions may actually be detrimental to well-being. It’s also clear, according to environmental scientists, that with shrinking natural resources to feed our consumption habits and the downstream impacts on our climate, the notion of acquiring ever more stuff is unsustainable.

It may be a good time to mull over a new approach to gift giving for the coming year—call it a New Year’s resolution. While you’re reorganizing to stuff your new stuff into shrinking spaces, you might want to think about how you can contribute to different kinds of gift-giving experiences for the coming year, whether for birthdays, Mother’s and Father’s days, or any other special occasions.

Instead of giving stuff, more and more people are realizing the joy of giving—without the stuff.

Investing in the gift of time or of life experiences, instead, can solve a number of gift-giving problems. It can

  • take less space
  • reduce waste (from discarded/unwanted gifts and from packaging)
  • use fewer natural resources
  • prove more meaningful
  • free up time to spend with friends and family

Some alternate gift-giving suggestions for the coming year might include:

  • your time (have coffee or lunch with a friend or relative)
  • your expertise (share your own expert knowledge)
  • a DIY gift (homemade salsa, a personalized poem, a new bookshelf)
  • a donation (to the person’s favourite charity)
  • lessons for something they’ve always wanted to do
  • a bus pass or bike helmet for someone who wants to change their commute
  • a membership to the local art gallery, museum, or bird sanctuary
  • a gift card to the local gym
  • a gift card to the local health food store

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