I wasn’t going to blog tonight to be honest. It’s late, I’m tired, I should probably be sleeping instead of blogging.
But I read something tonight. Something that I’ve read before a million times and I’m sure somewhere I thought about it in my head. I’m sure somewhere I must have processed it. But it never hit me until tonight how much it bothered me.
I’m sure you’ve seen or heard it too.
“Show how much you care” with x, y, or z product. Yes, because we’ve turned caring into commercialization. Praying on the guilt of people who just want to be good parents or spouses or siblings or children. Allowing others to check out because they’ve bought something for someone else so clearly they are showing they care. But buying someone more things doesn’t show them you care. It just shows them you have money. It just shows them you can buy stuff.
No amount of stuff can make up for never being around. Or for the hurtful words you said. Or for the time you screwed up. Because at the end of the day, it’s just stuff. And you certainly can’t take it with you when you die.
I’m not saying that gifts don’t have their time and their place, because they do, I’m just saying that it’s foolish to think that stuff would ever be as meaningful as real human interaction. I can tell you I have no idea what I got for most of my birthday presents when I was a kid. No idea. I’m sure I was really excited about it then, but it just wasn’t meaningful. Not that it wasn’t great stuff, but it was just that . . . stuff. But I can tell you I remember the trip to Six Flags, all the times we went camping, the family get togethers, cross stitching with my grandma. Because those – those are memories.
So the next time you want to show someone you care, why don’t you think about the ways you could not just buy them something and then check out, but think about the ways you could invest in their life? I will tell you that I will probably forget who got me what when Dominic was born, but I’ll never forget the two friends who brought me over a meal.
So take a walk with someone, invite them over for dinner, smile with them, laugh with them, cry with them, play with your children, make a memory. I can guarantee you that will show them you care a lot more than just about anything you can buy them.
P.S. Yes, I realize there are generally exceptions to the rule about gifts because sometimes gifts can be really meaningful like if you know someone loves a particular author and you go out of your way to get a copy of one of their books signed or a first edition or a signed first edition, but marketers slap that “show how much you care” on lots of things that are often very generic gifts that don’t require a particular amount of thought or effort.