Holiday Gifts: Experiences, Not Things

So much is being written now about gift-giving in this season of caring and thoughtfulness when folks are feeling skittish about their economic well-being.  We are looking inward, examining what is most meaningful in life, assessing the the true value of loving relationships and how that translates into expressing our feelings during this special time of year.  Academics, analysts and psychologists are writing more and more about what is most meaningful to people and what adds value to our lives.  The conclusion is that it is the experiences we invest in that have the most staying power.  Things are transient and wear out.  Tastes change.  But the memory of an experience adds richness and dimension to our lives.

My daughter-in-law Rochelle just wrote to me that they are happy to be spending Christmas eve with us, spending the day and staying overnight before going off to her parents for Christmas day.  She said let’s forgo gifts and give each other the gift of a special food or wine.  I told her that the gift of their being with us was all I needed, and I meant it.  We will all cook and eat together, sit in front of the fire, share memories, take a walk, and that will be memorable and feed my soul for a long time.

Much has been written in the last decade about living simply.  Magazines have been published that focus on this and Martha Stewart, the Queen of Induglences,  has included a special regular feature in her various media outlets.  This is a good time to reflect upon and re-examine what is most important to us and what we do to nurture creativity for ourselves and those we love, while paying attention to how to live closer to our core values.   These are not the high-rolling 1990’s that was punctuated by ENRON and Wall Street bonus-driven derivatives.  The bubble has burst . (Not many of us have the capacity or desire now, nor did we then, to express ourselves through lavish gift giving or sustaining grand lifestyles.)

Low-cost, low-impact eco- and adventure travel is one way to nourish ourselves.  This is the type of travel experience that brings you close to the people, adds a personal dimension, and might include an educational component.  One of the reasons I created Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC was to open doors to a shared cross-cultural experience that would be affordable and help support the families I know in Oaxaca.  It’s a win-win for everyone.

If you are thinking about ways you can give a different type of gift this year, for yourself or someone you love, consider the gift of one of our programs.  It will provide a lifetime of memories and open horizons beyond your dreams.

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