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The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 4 million readers. As featured on: ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, TODAY, NPR, TIME, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

Gift Love: Save $646 on Christmas Shopping This Year

Christmas Kid

The average American will spend $646.00 this year on Christmas presents. Many of which presents people don’t want or need or even care to receive.

That’s why I’m opting out of the whole thing.

Sure, I’ll still go to holiday events and show my love in myriad ways, but not with material gifts.

We’ve been taught—conditioned—to believe that gift-giving is a way to show our love for one another, that gift-giving is one of our “love languages.” This idea is utterly ridiculous, and yet we treat it as gospel: I love you—see, here’s this expensive shiny thing I bought you.

Gift-giving is not a love language any more than Pig Latin is a Romance language. Rather, material gift-giving is a pernicious cultural imperative, and we’ve bought it (literally bought it) hook, line, and sinker. We’ve become consumers of love.

The grotesque idea that we can somehow purchase love is nauseating. We often give gifts to show our love because we are troubled by real love. Gift-giving is, by definition, transactional. But love is not a transaction. Love is transcendent—it transcends language and material possessions and can be shown only by our thoughts, actions, and intentions.

So, I’ll gift experiences this year. I’ll gift my time. But I’ll save six-hundred bucks in the process, and I’ll feel a lot better about how I show my love. Care to join me? Together, we can make it a more meaningful holiday season.

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