Christmas isn’t about the gifts


Sasha Sklarov, Staff Writer

Once November hits, the shopping malls, grocery stores and online advertisements are all filled with this year’s “must haves” for Christmas. Perfectly decorated trees with beautifully wrapped presents placed below, what else can Christmas be about?

When I think of Christmas, I think of the memories made, movies watched and special Holiday family events you don’t get to have year round. But for some, Christmas revolves around those Pinterest-perfect gifts.

In the long run, the amount of gifts children unwrap on a cold Christmas morning make them happy and enjoy the day, right? The more the merrier, right?


Christmas is not about the “stuff” one receives – it’s about making childhood memories that will last forever.

At the end of the day, those are just physical objects in the child’s possession. Those toys, clothes, candies, are all just objects that they will eventually grow out of, break, or simply become unuseful to them.

After each Christmas, people walk away with one or two favorite “gifts” while the others end up sitting in the closet or toy box.

After those toys are gone, the memories made that day will never fade. Kids can recall what annual Christmas meal they ate, what games they played with their cousins and the big fancy tree in your family room but they don’t always remember what gifts they received.

I ,for one, do not recall the toys or clothing I received when I was little. Christmas in my family was more focused on spending the day with my siblings and mother.

Whether it was my mom driving at 6 a.m. to get eggs and bacon one morning because the breakfast she planned didn’t turn out to well, or the family trip to the movie that came out in theaters that day, or the drive with my family as the snowflakes brushed past our car, it’s the moments not the gifts that I remember.

If you’re looking to give your siblings, parents, or friends the “perfect gift,” try giving them an experience that they will never forget this season. A 20-year study by Cornell University psychology professor Dr Thomas Gilovich found that experiences supply more lasting happiness than objects.

There are many reasons why experiences give you happiness:

  1. Experiences shape one into the person they are today. Did that iPad or iPhone help develop your personality? Being introduced into a sport, job, or community service can not only boost your confidence, but could also become something engraved in your identity.
  2. Have you ever been in a conversation with your friends comparing each other’s gifts you received? Well, expeiences do not have a comparison. Your experience compared to your friends are both unique and different. The feelings you encountered in your experience differ from your friends.
  3. By getting the latest fashion clothes, most modern-day toy, newest iPhone – just before you blink, there will be a new version of it out in stores. Does that now “old” item make you less happy than when you received it?

Experiences create memories that you can share over and over again. If your friends also have a Christmas eve dinner tradition, you can both live through the memories again, though being completely different from both perspectives.

While the anticipation of an experience creates excitement, anticipation for receiving a gift just leads to impatience.