What did you get for Christmas last year?
It is funny how rarely we think about this. Chances are you cannot remember. I got a bunch of things, but the only one I can remember is a pair of running pants.
I remember this because I use them often. And that is the criteria by which most gifts should be judged: How often is it used.
The majority of stuff will be forgotten within a few weeks. You know this. Think back over all the Christmases you have had. If you are as lucky as I was, you probably got 15 gifts every year when you were a kid. By the time you are 20, that is 300 presents! And I remember the one time I got a pair of pants.
Maybe my parents just suck at buying gifts, but I doubt it. So the next time you go shopping, ask yourself, “How often are they going to use this?” And the hard part: Answer the question honestly.
If we are truly honest with ourselves, we already have everything we need. I know I do. I can imagine a life without anything I do not have, because I am currently living it. This makes it easy to realize that I do not need anything more than what I already have.
Every once in a while you will find something that will be used often. I bought my mom a nice calculator one year because the one she used to do the bills was horrible. A calculator!? Isn’t that like, a shitty gift? By most standards, it probably is. But she uses it every week. Know how often the other gifts I bought her get used? Hardly ever (not that I can remember what most of them are).
But it is difficult to find an oft-used gift, so you can go in the complete opposite direction: The one-use gift. Food, movie tickets, or an experience.
Memories will last longer than material gifts… well, maybe not if it is made of plastic, but you know what I mean.