With Christmas almost here – not to mention my birthday last week – I’ve had a lot of people asking me what I would like for a present.
I used to find it easy to come up with suggestions, but over the last few years it’s become much harder. In the past, I could rattle off a list full of books, DVDs and CDs, perhaps with a few items of clothing thrown in. Now films and music have become digital and I have a library overflowing with books, plus way too many clothes, so I don’t want as many things as I did.
I’ve never been one for big presents either. I always preferred to get several smaller things rather than one expensive gift. That’s the way I’ve always shopped for other people too.
But this year, I’m not even that bothered about receiving anything at all. Maybe it’s my birthday trip to New York (or I’m just getting old…), but instead of more stuff that I don’t really need, I’m longing for experiences.
When we were in the big city, I barely bought myself anything, despite being in one of the shopping capitals of the world. I think I came home with a fridge magnet from MoMA, a book and a purse, which cost me about $20 in total. Not exactly last of the big spenders.
I’d much rather put that money towards another trip somewhere exciting. Because I might not have brought much home from America, but I have something much more special: my memories. Instead of shopping, I enjoyed a trip full of new sights and sounds that I’ll always treasure, even without a case full of new clothes to remember things by.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with shopping. And it’s always amazing to receive a truly personal present – I loved the birthday gift my team at work gave me: a set of chunky wooden A-Z bookends and some map themed notebooks, plus a cool New Yorker birthday card. They know me so well!
But mostly, I have enough possessions. I only want to add to them with something meaningful. But there will always be room for new experiences, and they will last a lifetime, even after my once new clothes don’t fit or my latest gadget has long since stopped working.
What are you hoping for this Christmas?