My better half and I stopped buying gifts for one another a while back because after the initial excitement wore off, the gifts we were buying didn’t make a lot of practical sense. It didn’t take too long before we had a better life buying what we needed when we needed it and trying to cut down on buying things for the sake of a holiday tradition.
I like Annaliese Griffin’s thoughts that add even more credibility to our capitalist habits this time of year.
Every new purchase puts into motion a global chain of events, usually beginning with extracting oil to make the plastic that is in everything from stretchy jeans to the packaging they come in. Those materials travel from processing plant to factory to container ship, to eventually land on my front porch, and then become mine for a time. Sooner or later, they will most likely end up in a landfill.
There’s so little pleasure in those kinds of purchases, and I’m not alone in that assessment. In her book “Consumed,” Aja Barber, a sustainability and fashion industry expert, writes about the perpetual disappointment of Black Friday shopping that ends in buying “merchandise you hadn’t seen before and didn’t especially want, but somehow felt compelled to buy because of the low, low, low cost.”
The last paragraph feels cringe-worthy because it’s true. “Stuff isn’t our identity,” as Annaliese writes, and “time spent together in conversation, on a walk or preparing a meal is far more meaningful than anything you can unwrap.” Time will always be the best gift you can give because not all of the money in the world can buy one more minute.➵