I don't want presents from my friends and family. Shopping and buying stuff is the easy way out.
I want much more.
I want to appear as a line item in my loved ones' calendars, take them away from screens and enjoy their presence over a coffee or lunch, or an experience like a light festival or ice skating.
Life is about relationships — I want to invest in, deepen and nurture those. I want my friends and family to consider giving me something they can never get back (that I also won't have to dust, regift or recycle) — their precious time.
How I launched "presence" instead of "presents"
The first step was having a courageous conversation — with myself. What was my real intent? I didn't want to make people feel bad or guilty.
Subscribe to the Queen of Green digest
So I first told the people in my life who would have the hardest time giving up giving things that I'd rather spend time with them.
It was awkward at first. Now my family and friends are used to my way of expressing generosity. (I don't get stuff!)
Still determined to give material gifts?
- Give homemade items (also an indicator of time spent)
- Make a donation
- Practice true generosity — a gift freely given doesn't require acknowledgment or even a thank you!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to try a no-material-gift policy for the first time in order to lower consumption and nurture relationships this holiday season?
Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green