Giving Experiential Gifts Is So Much Better Than Material Gifts

Giving Experiential Gifts Is So Much Better Than Material Gifts

What extra value does stuff give you in your life?
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One of the best Christmases I ever experienced was traveling to Mexico with my family. Instead of exchanging a ton of gifts, we simply decided to go on a family trip and spend quality time together. The older I get, the more I appreciate experiential gifts or celebrations. It seems obvious to value experiences more than material possessions, but I think when we Christmas or gift shop, we automatically think about what items were going to gift. In the end, experiences are immeasurably more valuable than accumulating material possessions.

Especially in American culture, we place so much weight and importance on stuff.

Many of us have way more than we will ever need. What extra value does stuff have in your life? There are memories that will last the rest of your life, whereas possessions won't always last forever. The memories give you something to look back on and treasure. Spending time with the people you love is so much more important in the long run.

This holiday season as Christmas rolls around again, I implore you to consider being creative with the gifts you give one another. Maybe you could send your parents on that vacation they've been waiting to go on or help a friend cross something off of their bucket list. If nothing else, you are gifting the people you love the ability to take part in (hopefully) enriching, cultural experiences that will make a positive impact on who they are as a person. Maybe even an exciting story emerges from the experience.

Some of the best gifts I've received include tickets to concerts, shows, and vacations.

Not only did I take part in an enriching experience, but I did it with loved friends and family. Perhaps a gifted experience could be as simple as an art class or taking a friend somewhere to hike and do a picnic lunch. I love that giving these types of gifts requires you to think more deeply about who that person really is and what sort of experiences would positively impact them. Plus, let's be real- once our short time on Earth ends, worldly possessions have no meaning anymore. I like to think that memories and experiences stay with us eternally.

This Christmas, consider gifting your friends and family an experience rather than giving them another material possession. Even beyond the holiday season, consider doing this for any gift-giving occasion as long as it makes sense. In reality, experiences are worth so much more than things.

Cover Image Credit: Ben White

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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I'm Keeping My Christmas Tree Up All Winter And There's Nothing You Can Do About It

It's the WINTER Season... ;-)

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I think that my tree would not be considered Christmas-y if the ornaments are taken off and the lights are kept on. I think to just looks wintry. I am also keeping up decorations that say "let it snow", and I am keeping up any snowman without holly berries or presents in their hands.

The tree looks wintry in my opinion. It looks pretty with the lights and brings the room together. It gives off a warm ambiance, unlike that of fluorescent lighting.

I've taken all ornaments off except for gold snowflakes and I've left the silver tinsel garland on as well as the lights. It looks wintry to me still. I will probably be taking the whole tree down by the end of this month to prepare for Valentine's Day decorating. (Yes, I pretty much decorate my apartment for every holiday—sue me).

There's nothing like coming downstairs and seeing those lights sparkling.

Or coming inside from a dreary, rainy day outside and seeing them light up the room in a calm, warm, and comforting glow.

Or having a bad day, looking up, and seeing them shine.

It sort of makes me upset when I come downstairs and see that someone has unplugged them, to be honest.

I guess they don't see it as I do.

Pretty, twinkling lights forever!

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