Give the gift of time instead

Give the Gift of Time Instead

Every year I find myself counseling increasing numbers of people, especially women, that enter a month long acute holiday depression.  What is supposed to be a meaningful season becomes an empty, stress filled marathon to find the perfect gift for everyone, to create the perfect holiday decorative event, to maximize every moment and every decision.

I have an idea for this year, Don’t do it! Why not tell everyone that you have made a conscious decision to create a thoughtful pace this year, to give the gift of time instead of all the usual stuff. If your friends and family cannot understand your explanation tell them Kevin told you to do it (grin).  Have a meaningful holiday season this year.

Another way to bring real happiness to family and friends is to do what Martin Seligman recommends to his students in his Authentic Happiness course. Give gifts that increase a person’s sense of engagement and meaning rather than the standard gadgets, toys, and appearance-enhancers like clothes and cosmetics. God knows we already have enough things in our lives to provide us with pleasure but most of us are deficient in flow and meaning.

As American Social Philosopher Eric Hoffer reminded us:

“We can never have enough of the stuff we don’t need.”

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