The Christmas gift begins to lose value as you age. When you’re 10 years old and you are working on a $6 dollar a week allowance, you don’t have a ton of spending cash. When you get older and start working, you begin to create wealth which you can then spend on yourself making gifts from other people less appealing.
At around 7, a gift that sticks out to me was when my mom bought me a bank. It had a slot for all the coins and it counted up the money as it was deposited. The front of it would lock but the back could always be opened up which made it not very secure. This gift taught me how to count money and how to save. Even though it lacked the bells and whistles of today’s technology, I will never forget this thoughtful gift.
When I hit middle school it was all about video games. Clothes were boring. Books sucked. CD’s were nice but video games were always the best. New consoles. Controllers. Memory cards. Games. You name it and if I didn’t have to spend my own money on it, that was great. Zero educational value as I pass the time with a screen as my best friend.
In high school you hit a phase in your life where you have a better understanding of the value of money but your stuck in your own world of what’s “in”. I used to have jeans that would expand 3x the size of my ankles. I was still playing video games but was into track and probably thought I was WAY WAY WAY cooler than I really was.
College life turns 180 where you only care about beer and partying. Friends start getting into drugs and you start figuring out what suits you the best. Holiday breaks are more important because you get a break from school and you have free time to do whatever you want. Christmas time is just the mandatory time with your family between doing activities with your friends.
Which brings me to post-college life. I have money to spend and have no problem giving gifts. I tend to donate small sums to organizations that I use regularly (wikipedia and friends fundraisers). I spend my money more on education instead of alcohol. Lynda.com for Photoshop education and paying Adobe to use it. I’m not into material items so much except for what I need. If I want to look nice I’ll buy new clothes. If my sneakers have a hole in them I’ll buy new shoes. Mostly though Christmas is about getting together and spending time with family.
Unless you stop and make it happen, you realize that life doesn’t stop and it’s easy to get caught in the rat race of working and trying to make money. Family time gets overlooked for various reasons but it’s important. Material items come and go but family is always there until it’s not. The cliche you don’t know what you have until it’s gone rings true. So ring in this holiday season with your family and tell them how much they mean to you. There is no greater gift.