A New Gifting Philosophy - No More STUFF

Lyne Rogers

I hate stuff. I find so little sentimental value in objects that I actually misplaced my wedding veil and bouquet for a full year after my wedding. I found them stashed in a box in the basement. (Why’d I find it in the basement? Only because my husband and I were in the process of purging 400 pounds of crap from our house.) Needless to say, I don’t really enjoy shopping, either, though I do enjoy gift giving. I just don’t want more stuff in my life.

My family, luckily, gets this. For birthdays and Christmas, my mom is likely to gift me with salon and restaurant gift cards, nice bottles of wine, and the occasional pair of fuzzy socks. I’m a sucker for fuzzy socks. I’m still training my husband, the shopper in the family, with this “no stuff” philosophy, but he’s got the rest of our lives to learn this. My sister and I, however, have had this “no stuff” holiday philosophy down for years.

My sister and I attended the same college for one year: she was a freshman and I was a senior. She had a little bit of a tough time settling in at first, so we spent a lot of time together. When the holidays rolled around, neither of us really had the time or the energy (or, let’s face it, the money) to buy presents, so we decided to have dinner out together and attend the local repertory theater’s annual production of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I can’t remember where we went for dinner, but we dressed nicely, sat on our uncomfortable (and cheap) bench seats and it was lovely. The production that year had some really cool puppets for the three ghosts; I can still see in my mind’s eye, twelve years later.

When the next year rolled around, that one-off “we’re too cheap” holiday field trip turned into a tradition: nice dinner, pretty outfits, uncomfortable bench seats, A Christmas Carol. As we’ve gotten older, the restaurants have gotten nicer and we’ve added drinks and dessert locations to our sister-date. For the first time, since I’m eight months pregnant, we’ve splurged and purchased actual theater seats rather than bench seats. I guess we’re growing up, finally, now that we’re in our thirties. But I like to think that we really grew up that year in college, when we first realized that stuff is overrated, and that the best way for us to recognize the holiday season is by spending time together.

Have you ever received an experience as a gift? Tell us about it in the comments.