“Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body”
Here’s a shocker for you. Myself and Spring at Pebbleshoo don’t give each other stuff for Christmas. We don’t give each other stuff on our birthdays or on our wedding anniversary either.
This isn’t to say we don’t give to each other. We give a lot, and not just on specific arbitrary days of the year. We try to give in as many different ways as possible.
When we need stuff, we get it. So if I’m driven to experience Skiing, I buy Skis… etc. But I guess what’s different is that we don’t necessarily attribute value to products. We attribute value to the memories of experiences that taught us or made us feel something.
Products only become valuable to me when they have enabled me to experience something of worth. My favorite bright orange Arc’teryx Jacket is not valuable because of the price tag attached to it, but because it kept me dry when I was crouched on an exposed ledge in the mountains and because of many other similar memories. All of us have items that are more valuable to us because of our history with them.
Our favorite products act as catalysts for experiences. Experience has value. Life, life has value.
I think somewhere along the path to becoming a Consumerist Society some of us have lost this understanding. As I watch the Malls near us becoming chock full with people shuffling around buying oodles upon oodles of stuff I have to ask “Why?”
This season we want to encourage you, our reader, to try something different. To try giving differently.
We want you to try giving memories before stuff, and if you are giving stuff, to give stuff with stories.
So how can you do this?
Memories Before Stuff: When you are thinking about a person you love and what you can give them. Giving them something memorable should be key. So, for example, if a loved one rock climbs, the easy option might be to buy a bunch of climbing equipment for them. But what if you’ve heard them talk before about how they’ve always wanted to Kayak rapids but they never got the chance. How much more memorable would be giving that person Kayaking lessons? The gift of knowledge doesn’t just last a season or two, it last a lifetime.
Some other ideas: Show them one of your favorite viewpoints, a favorite hike, a book that changed your life, made you smile… etc
Stuff With Stories: The other option is to give them something with history. Something with personal value. You could maybe give them something of yours that they could now use if you no longer have a use for it. Be sure to tell them some stories of memories you have of that item.
Some other ideas: The other way, and my personal favorite, is to repair an item of theirs that has personal value. So if you see them wearing their favorite shirt that now has some holes in it, instead of buying them a new piece of clothing, spend the time to repair that item.
The clothing company Patagonia put out a new video a few days ago about the value of worn clothes over new clothes. We already believe this and also know that we need to, as people, constantly strive to reduce, reuse, repair and recycle. We touched on this a few months ago in our post “Need Less. Be More.”
So here is your Call to Action!
We want you to post pictures of how you are giving Memories before Stuff to your loved ones. You don’t have to wait until Christmas Day, you can start right now! This is the “Season of Giving” after all, not the “Day of Giving” (we hope though that you’ll make it the Lifetime of Giving). It can be as simple as giving that friend you’ve been meaning to visit a hug and telling them “Thank You”, to taking somebody out on your favorite trail, to buying them lessons to learn something they’ve always dreamed about.
Be sure to tag your pictures with this hashtag so that we see them: #MemoriesBeforeStuff
We are also going to support Patagonias message that used and worn stuff is better than new. Send and share your pictures of repairs you made to your stuff or the stuff of your loved ones. We’d also love to see items that you’ve had for a really, really long time that just keep working. Let us know the stories behind the items also. Remember, it doesn’t have to be just clothes, it can be anything that you’ve repaired or re-purposed so that you can make more memories with it.
Be sure to tag these pictures with the hashtag: #StuffWithStories
Other hashtags you can also use are: #WornWear #BetterThanNew
If you love to go crazy with hashtags then here are some more: #KnowledgeBeforeStuff #SeasonOfGiving
You can share these pictures with us via these social networks:
We’ll start. Here’s something Spring repaired for me recently that made this item infinitely more valuable to me now. These were my favorite pair of gloves but I ended up tearing a large hole in one of the fingers. Rather than buying a new pair, Spring repaired them for me. Now every time I wear them I can see that kindness in giving her time to do that. Click on the image to see more details. Now, lets see some of yours!