Does anyone else find adult gift giving kind of crazy?
Every year I’m asking the people in my life what they’d like for Christmas and it’s always: “I don’t really need anything”, or “I don’t know”.
And that’s how I feel, too.
But I’m still going to buy them something, because… I don’t know… it’s what we do, and it feels super mean to just give up the tradition. Plus, giving gifts is fun! Right?
Stuff vs Experiences
The solution so many come up with in response to this whole gift giving problem is to give experiences instead of stuff.
YES!! Awesome! Right?
Instead of this thing that you don’t need, or really even want, how about I give you this experience that will be super fun?? It’s a great idea.
The problem is… cool experiences are expensive yo!
- I’ll send you bungee jumping! $$$$$$
- How about a yoga membership? $$$$$$
- Maybe just a ticket to a minor league baseball game? $…..$$ (beer and hotdogs…)
And although there might be a few cheap experiences that fit the bill, generally for those of us living on less… it’s not the amazing solution you might have been hoping for.
The problem is… how do you give something that someone really wants that doesn’t completely destroy your financial future?
Enter the greatest idea ever thought of while loading a truck full of wheat
My brother and I have it rough. We go through this Christmas debacle twice a year.
No, we don’t celebrate Christmas twice, but since our birthdays are one day apart, we do the gift exchange thing twice… basically on the same day. Just because there’s a pine tree at one of them really doesn’t make much of a difference, it still means that twice a year I end up racking my brain trying to come up with a decent gift for the bro.
Which is what I was doing early September a year and a half ago.
I was loading up a big truck of wheat (as you do), and thinking about the gift I’d love to give my brother if money weren’t an issue.
I’d love to take him on a trip to Japan.
Traveling with my brother has always been something I’d like to do, but that’s not exactly something your average opera singer can afford to put under the tree (the birthday or Christmas variety).
But then I thought… what if I apply all this financial dogma that had been rolling around in my head to this particular problem? You know, the stuff I write about all the time…
- Big numbers are made of small numbers
- Build up a savings habit
- A journey of a thousand steps starts with the first blah blah blah
What if instead of giving a ton of small gifts every year, we joined forces and started saving up for something that we both really wanted!
Another savings fund is born
You may be sick of all of my savings funds by now. But I’m really not sick of talking about them.
This one, is one of my favourites.
Every Christmas and birthday my brother and I take the amount that we would have spent on gifts and throw it into a savings account.
It’s for our brothers trip.
When’s it going to happen? I don’t know. Where are we going to go? No idea! But I know that whenever and whereever it happens, we’ll have some seed money. Maybe if we wait long enough there will actually be enough to cover the whole trip.
Think that’s the least fun present ever…?
There might not be something to unwrap under the tree, but I feel an excitement every time I add money to that account. An excitement that I just wasn’t getting from the stuff we used to trade back and forth.
Now, instead of opening a present from each other we sit and talk about where we would go. We talk about what we would see.
It’s a really cool moment we get to have… twice a year.
And it’s kind of funny how this gift, even though it won’t be delivered for years, already feels like it’s paying off.
Have an incredible Christmas, everyone (or whichever holiday you happen to be celebrating!
What’s your favourite Christmas lifehack?