Aging Well

Aging Well

Opt for gifting meaningful objects, not more stuff

Posted December 2, 2019 9:21 p.m. EST

Avoid the swamp of Cyber Monday specials

It’s Cyber Monday and my daughter just informed me that I have 11 hours, 2 minutes and 45 seconds to place my Christmas Amazon order to SAVE BIG.

I am writing to encourage everyone to not follow my daughter's advice.

Is it really worth saving 20% on an item that you do not need or want and, if you are honest, it’s very questionable whether your daughter or granddaughter would either? What if, instead, you do what my friend Martha Coffey has done, which is pick an object in your home you no longer need and gift that to someone who may love it? Knowing I am Scandinavian, she recently gave me a beautiful Norwegian vase.

Or what about what my neighbor Barbara Wishy did? She gave me a copy of the story with photographs she put together for her children and grandchildren, recounting her youth and escape (on her fourth attempt) from East Germany alone as a young woman. (Riveting!)

My Finnish mother, in attempting to do a “Swedish death cleaning,” has been emptying her shelves of precious heirlooms, most recently some wooden objects my great uncle Paavo-seta carved while a young man in Viipuri before skiing west to escape the Russian takeover of his town during the Winter Wars. As a young child, it made an impression when he recounted burning his house behind him.

I know it is hard to resist purchasing a new Fisher Price toy for a toddler, but maybe it is less so doing the equivalent for your teenage grandson? Maybe your teenage grandson or college age granddaughter really would prefer the utility knife their grandfather kept on his belt or vintage hat grandmother bought at Cameron Village in the forties? And if they don't appreciate it now, they may appreciate it as they age.

What they will probably not keep or maybe remember who gave it to them or even when is that SAVE BIG SPECIAL on CYBER MONDAY, "a real steal."

According to Bankrate, more than half of spenders last holiday season regret the amount they spent. Is that a surprise? We all know that. Why then do we keep doing it?

Right now, I'm sitting at my writing desk looking at what objects I have surrounded myself with. Poems, kid's handwritten notes, photos, tiny momentos with a story. Life itself is too rich to muddy wading in the wallows Cyber Monday.

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