Giving Experiences Instead of Things

One blogger speaks out against the holiday culture of excess.


One of my favorite blogs, Zen Personal Finance, has a great post today on why the author, Justin McHenry, doesn't want a ton of Christmas presents this year. He writes:

Don't get me wrong. I want stuff just like anyone else. But I don't want much. And I don't generally want things that anyone would buy me for a Christmas gift. I usually want either big things that are too expensive for anyone to buy as a gift, or very small things that most people would think are insubstantial to give as a gift. No one's going to spring for a trip to Europe for me, and probably no one's going to think that Post-It Notes are a sufficient gift (despite my love of them).

What I don't want are things that clutter my life, like random electronic gadgets, or clothes that I like just enough to keep even though I wouldn't have bought them myself (and also would have some guilt getting rid of). I don't mean to be Scroogey about it; I appreciate the sentiment. I just don't want the stuff.

McHenry says he is asking people to either make a donation in his name or to buy him "experiences," like tickets to an event. It sounds like a great idea, but will people be able to restrain themselves from buying the more traditional gifts?