I was thinking about how much I love playing with my little girl Isabella and talking to my wife Michelle and joking around with my best friend Tanner. You know what I realized? There is nothing more fun than just laughing with the people I love. There isn't a gadget or a game or a toy or any sort of thing you and the reindeer could possibly bring me that I would rather have than a couple of hours of laughter.
I was thinking how when I talked to a bunch of third graders a while back and I said to them, "How many of you know the feeling of really wanting something and then when your parents finally get it for you, instead of feeling excited, you feel kind of disappointed and sad?" Three-quarters of the kids raised their hands. By age eight, these kids already knew that more stuff doesn't really make you feel better.
I was thinking, too, how that wanting feeling I get in the pit of my stomach is never cured by getting the object of my desire. Once I get what I want, instead of feeling satisfied, my want just moves on to the next thing. And I was also thinking how most of my stuff has the effect of pulling me away from my friends and family--because I use it alone--when joking around and having fun with them actually is really effective at making that wanting feeling go away.
Finally, I was thinking how all this stuff that doesn't really make me happy also has the effect of hurting the planet as clouds of carbon are produced as the stuff is manufactured, delivered, used and finally disposed of. I was thinking, on top of that, how so many people get stressed out by the debt and high costs of a Christmas full of presents. In other words, all the Christmas junk not only harms the planet but it kind of harms the people too.
So anyway, Santa, I was thinking how, since joking around with my friends and family gives me a lot more pleasure than more stuff, maybe you and the reindeer could just drop a few envelopes down our chimney. Like maybe I could have a couple of comedy tickets so I could take my friend Tanner out. Maybe we could have some symphony tickets, so Michelle and I could hold hands and listen to great music. You get the drift.
What I'm asking for is gifts that, instead of causing me and mine to separate from each other, instead cause us to bond together and enjoy each other. Experiences we can share that have the effect not only of giving us a good time but, say, supporting the arts and helping to build and strengthen community. They have the benefit, too, of not consuming a lot the planet's resources.
Thanks so much Santa. Sorry if I won't be coming to the mall this year to sit on your lap. I'll leave the cookies in the kitchen as usual.
All the best,
No Impact Man
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.