In case you hadn’t heard, Christmas is coming soon. The whole “peace on earth, good will toward men” part of the equation can get lost in a sea of shopping. Buy this! Buy that! “Makes the perfect Christmas gift!”

Chances are pretty good that you’re reading this from the cozy comfort of your home. Or perhaps you’re perusing this post on your smartphone while you’re out and about (you need a new hobby!). Either way, you have shelter… and an internet connection. So you probably don’t need any more “stuff” for Christmas.

Here’s a novel idea: give experiences instead of “stuff”… give the gift of time together. (Time is the most precious gift of all, right?)

That’s what I did last Christmas. Instead of buying my wife a bunch of stuff, I created “The 12 Dates of Christmas” – I planned out an excursion for each month of 2022, to a different neighborhood, where we could “buy local.” Patronize locally owned shops, dine at local restaurants, enjoy a beverage or two at a local watering hole,… visit local parks and attractions too.

We’ve been married for 25 years, and have lived in this city even longer, yet there are so many neighborhoods that we hadn’t fully explored, so many new (non-chain) restaurants to try, new breweries, or places that we hadn’t been to in ages (looking at you, comedy club).

Yes, it’s still commerce, but at least our dollars are staying in the community instead of going to China.

Source: Huff Post

And it ensured that we had a planned “date night” every month. (OK, not every month – we missed a few. We skipped the February one because the Bengals made the Super Bowl – didn’t see that one coming!)

Your 12 Dates don’t have to be with a significant other. It could be lunch with a parent or grandparent. A ballgame with an old friend. Spending your time with someone you love is much more valuable than more “stuff.”