Memories Are The Best Gift You Can Give

The holiday season is upon us, and already our bank accounts are paying the price. Even with our dwindling account balances, the majority of us will still partake in purchasing our loved ones gifts during this holiday season. After all, buying each other presents is a long rooted tradition and it’s one that isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Endless marketing, advertisements and sales lure us into making the perfect purchase so our loved ones know how much we care.

As a college student I already question every nickel and dime I drop on a purchase. Is whatever I’m buying worth it? My answer to that question: probably not.

This summer I was fortunate to get to go on a 6 week study abroad to Italy, where I proceeded to spend nearly every dime I had made from working over the winter. Yet, I came home with nothing besides a few post cards (and maybe an extra five pounds from all the delicious Italian food). Still, I wasn’t disappointed, wasn’t even sad that I had no Italian keepsake to hold in my hand. So then what was it I spent all my money on? Experiences.  

While in Italy my best friend and I chose to spend our money on experiences. We paid to get into museums, art shows and most exciting little trips. For example, we woke up early one morning and just walked to the train station. We ended up taking three trains that brought us to the Cinque Terre, where we took a boat to see the five colorful villages sitting on the green cliffs. We were out for the entire day. We met amazing people, ate delicious food and saw some of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.

The memories of my Italian adventures are priceless. But they were adventures I was only able to have because I prioritized what I spent my money while I was there. Instead of falling for the tourist trap and buying the souvenirs I spent my money on the things that would make me the memories. Okay I’ll admit, a lot of food too, especially gelato.

This year I’ve reevaluated what is worth spending money on and I’ve come to the conclusion: it’s life. Life experiences are worth spending money on, not materialistic things we use up and throw away.

The holidays are proving no different than my study abroad. I would rather pay to take my best friend out ice skating for the day then buy her a shirt she’ll probably wear a few times. No matter who it is your buying a gift for, odds are they’d rather be out doing something with you. Buy yourself something the two of you can do together, no matter who it is. Go on a one day vacation, take your best friend to a concert they’re dying to see, take your parents out to a nice dinner.

So, while you're out doing your holiday shopping this year consider whether or not it's worth it to buy another present. Whatever it is, whoever it's for, do something that will be worth remembering for the both of you. Memories are the gifts that matter in the end.