Monday, 11 December 2017

What to buy for the person who has everything

We all have that person to buy for; the person who seemingly has it all. Who defies even the most thorough of gift guides.

I was scrolling through twitter earlier this week week and stumbled upon a tweet which summed it all up for me - why do we feel the need to buy stuff?

This year I turned thirty and was completely stumped when people asked what I would like as a gift. Now whilst I'm by no means swimming in dollar, I have the luxury of a relatively disposable income. No children, no mortgage (we'll gloss over the extortionate rent bill...) and a fairly decent salary - so when I like something, I am more often than not able to buy it for myself. Combine that with a distaste for conspicuous consumption and Birthday- or Christmas-list writing becomes something of a challenge. 

And I get it, this is a total privilege.  For some those gifts at Christmas are needed. I'm not trying to deny that.

But it got me thinking - why, when so many of us are in a similar position, do we feel the need to cobble together a list of arbitrary objects for our loved ones to oh-so-unexpectedly present to us on The Big Day? 

Yeh, I know, the c-word. Capitalism. I get it - I'm a Sociology teacher for heaven's sake! Don't worry, I'll spare you the leftie-spiel for the time being. 

When mulling this over with a colleague who had, like me, faced a 'big birthday', they passed on a gem of an idea. Rather than asking for gifts, ask your friends to organise something for you to do together. 

I know - so simple, right? Why didn't I think of this? Not ground breaking, but a game changer for sure!

'Cos we're busy. I don't get to see my friends or loved ones nearly often enough. And in honesty, time together is more valuable than any fluffy key ring or Chanel nail polish. Cheesy, perhaps. 

So I did just that. I asked my friends not to give me a physical gift as such, but to organise something for us to do together. That could be as simple as meeting for a drink one Saturday afternoon, or getting our nails done together. No obligation to pay - the time and thought are more than enough.

And I was so lucky. I was treated to some of the most thoughtful moments; a family party thrown by my parents and boyfriend, afternoon tea with bubbles and a lot of laughter, dinner and wine tasting hosted at a friend's house, a surprise lunch with my closest girlfriends, coffee and a gossip after work one evening. 

I've been trying to practice what I preach - instead of buying my Dad yet more socks and thought-provoking hardback books, I took him out for a father-daughter lunch date. Mum - I expect you'll be reading this, so I wont divulge what I have in mind for your birthday next month! 

But with Christmas fast approaching, and the end of our 'to-buy-lists' firmly in sight, do think about changing things up a little bit. 

I promise, it'll go down well!

I think most would agree we could do with a world where people consume a little less and think a little more. 

1 comment

  1. I couldn't agree more! I find myself in exactly the same boat. There honestly isn't anything I really need... and if there ever is, Amazon Prime makes it very easy for it to be at my door the next day! The experiences-over-material-things angle is a great idea and one I have been working more and more over the years. There are some friends I don't get to see as often as I'd like, and it's lovely using the money for something extra special and memorable like an afternoon tea x


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