For the three billion people on Earth who have never experienced air conditioning, window displays and the extraordinary safety and wealth that the mall represents, a trip to the mall is mindblowing. For the typical consumer, egged on by a media frenzy and harried by a completely invented agenda, today is nothing but a hassle.
Every person reading this today has access to more wealth than the last King of France did. An astounding array of choices, a bounty of available connections and emotions. Don't let someone else scam you into being unhappy.
It's hard for me to read that and not feel all set. You know, and a little guiltily entitled.
As we march into the holiday giving season (some of us with the requisite bells on), I am keeping these questions from the Non-Consumer Advocate in mind as I create my list of what to buy others. (Ethics? Local? Lasting? Fixable? Needs? Wants? Experiences? Edible? Vintage?) I've been a big fan of giving experiences or edibles in the past. (This is probably because every year my "experiences" gift is positively reinforced -- I both give and receive spa massage certificates. *thumbs up*) And, for the record, I will happily take all of the vegan cheese and chocolate candies you send my way.
In 2011 I wrote something similar - My Gift Matrix - and I still try to stand by that year after year.
Ultimately, though, I'm trying to remember this is all about the people, the cozy good times, the love and the sentiment. It's easy to forget that and it's much harder to be responsible for helping to cultivate it.