Holiday Shopping? Just Stop.

Stop. #breathe

Here’s the thing: nobody I know needs any more material things. People I know need good health, they need more laughter, they need more time to relax and recreate with loved ones, time to create, but they don’t need NFL fleece hoodies, or another book, or a DVD, or coffee mugs, or ornaments. So I show up empty handed with a hug and eye contact and a listening ear. Presence. We need to give each other our presence.

This was part of a comment I left at Genie’s blog, “. . . in a bottle” about gift giving obligations. Before I knew it, she posted my remarks at Facebook — resulting in more “likes” and “shares” than I’m used to. What a fun gift — to see that my words were appreciated. Thank you, Genie.


Years ago, a friend of mine told me about shopping in the U.S. with a woman visiting from Malawi, Africa. They were looking for a gift for the woman to take back to Malawi for her daughter.

“How about a shirt?” my friend suggested.

“No,” the mother replied, “she already has a shirt.”

I keep repeating that bit of dialogue because most people I know (myself included) need reminders that our culture has a toxic relationship with possessions.

I, for one, would rather spend my time being, seeing, learning and making. Not getting. Even if that getting is for giving.

If you must: here. Here. Here.

3 thoughts on “Holiday Shopping? Just Stop.

  1. I haven’t done much gift giving over Christmas over the past five years or so. Gift cards for my in-laws (because they still do gifts) and one toy for each important child in my life (three toys total) and that’s it. I like your story about “She already has a shirt” — it’s so true.

  2. Thank you for including CharityGiftMarket among your options to shop while making a difference. We actually started CharityGiftMarket because we ourselves were tired of the meaningless consumerism. Although we value the joy of gift giving we were looking for a more meaningful option. Hearing the stories of hope that our partnering nonprofits have is inspirational. We are excited to be apart of it all.

    1. Hi Andy,

      I can’t tell you how exciting it is for me that you would comment here. Thank you.

      My “Mend” bag from Invisible Children is getting a little worn. I think I’m going to do a little shopping at your site. :) And yes, maybe pick up a gift or two for my niece.

      Best wishes,

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