Rethink Holiday Spending

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We buy holiday presents to show our love and appreciation for the special people in our lives. But, does going into debt or filling the recipients’ closets with more stuff they don’t like, want or need really express what we intended?

This season, let’s give the gift of time and appreciation. Instead of buying stuff you’re guessing they’ll enjoy, why not invite those you care about to a day of shopping where they can select something special? Or, how about spending a day together, sharing an activity they adore? Whether a sporting event, amusement park, concert, Broadway show, spa or delicious restaurant, everyone will likely remember the lovely day more than another piece of not-quite-right electronics or a sweater in the wrong size or color.

While gift givers might think that cash or a gift card is impersonal, those practical presents allow the recipients to use it for something they truly need or want.

When did the holidays disintegrate from meaningful family and religious celebrations to spending orgies? As soon as the big hand strikes midnight on Halloween night, the starting gun sounds in the race to buy, wrap and give mountains of gifts. Is this how we really want to spend our precious time? And, is unwrapping packages of rock-hard fruit cakes with awkward frozen smiles on our faces making anyone’s holiday any happier?

In the true spirit of giving, how about volunteering with the little ones you love and teaching them about helping those in need? That’s a lesson that will last a lifetime and continue to give. Most of us have more stuff than we know what to do with. Why not clear out the piles of stuffed animals and unworn clothes, and share them with those who could truly use and appreciate them?

If you do choose to go all out and buy way too much stuff, suggest that young recipients share one of their presents with someone less fortunate. Help them learn that it really is more rewarding to give than to receive.

So, this year, let’s be practical—and kinder to our wallets and the planet. Let’s give meaningful presents that will make the gift giver and the recipient happier—and help everyone have a more joyful holiday.

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In addition to being editor of the Great Neck Record, Sheri ArbitalJacoby utilizes her more than three decades of publishing experience as a managing editor at national magazines to spearhead Anton Media Group's special edition magazines. She also writes decorating, travel and green articles for Long Island Weekly and Anton's special sections.

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