Media outlets and consumerist organizations would have you believe that this season, above all others, is the season to show gratitude by buying “stuff”. Objects that are more often placeholders for what people really want out of us: our time and our attention.
I’ve found personally that spending time with someone over a great meal, going on a short hike, or simply being in the same room in quiet parley are more a boon than anything I could have found for them in a department store. Sure, giving a person something material that will improve their standard is a great way to show that you’re paying attention enough to notice that live in a state of lack–but I’d argue that not backing it up with your warmth-of-presence and your genuine attention is simply maintenance of a status-quo; the aforementioned lack.
Instead of focusing on purchases, I want to focus on gratitude. I’m going to spend the next couple of weeks telling people that I know about the various ways they have helped me to change for the better and how grateful I am that they are a part of my life. Friends, coworkers, fitness training partners, you-name-it.
Reflection of presence and validation is far more valuable and impactful than any bauble by which you might purchase token gratitude.