Don’t buy ‘stuff’ for Christmas

written by Tiana Kai

I always found it so weird that growing up my Mom and Dad never wanted anything for Christmas or even their Birthdays. This seemed to just be another reason to label them as ‘nuts’. Then one day I woke up and realized I didn’t need anything either. Sure money, a purse or new kicks is always nice, but I have enough of everything, most of which I never use. As for birthdays, I remember feeling content in where I was and with whom I was with.

Christmas should be for the kids more than adults. There’s too much pressure on gift giving and I think it’s crazy that anyone besides a ten year old would expect a gift… unless you have a partner. Don’t get me wrong, I love giving out gifts. I love thinking of something that would make someone happy, something that is not typical, something thoughtful and unique. Gifts are fine, my point is that there’s no need to go crazy about it, spend money when you can also do great things with your family or friends that would be more memorable than giving a ‘thing’.

Last Christmas Nicco took me snowboarding in Sestriere, Turin and gave me an art piece that I was dying for. It was hanging in Il Giova restaurant in Sant’Ambrogio, Florence, painted by an artist who also bartends at Caffè Sant’Ambrogio down the street. I would love to collect a piece from each of her series. Now, that’s a gift!

I used to paint and sell my art for ten years when I was living in Miami. The more I painted, the happier I felt. It felt amazing to know that people enjoyed my art, that by some extension, I was making them happy by filling their homes with color and smiles. Maybe this is why I love creating gifts from the heart more than shopping ’til I drop at the malls.

So, are you still on the hunt for a Holiday gift? If you can’t create or bake something yourself, then find something creative like art or an activity to share. The best way to create memories is by doing something together. Point being, it’s the labor of love behind something that makes it count, not how many gift receipts you dish out.

What was the most memorable gift (Christmas or not) someone has given you? My most memorable gifts were a 16th birthday in Paris and a most recent birthday surprise trip to Bolzano, Italy.

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Liz December 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm

I have no room for stuff and at this point, almost anything I could get would be a duplicate of something I already have. Moving every couple of years makes you rrrrrreally not want stuff. I can’t say I don’t like money (in the less tacky form of gift cards), but only to places like Target where I can get useful things like undies/socks/toiletries or Amazon so I can download e-books. No clothing stores anymore. In fact, this is specifically what I asked my Mom and Dad for!
All I EVER want from boyfriends are surprise trips!!! But I never get them!!!!!
Merry Christmas, Bella!

Sam Webster on Facebook December 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Being back in Australia at Christmas time seems strange for me. I feel like I’m comparing it to Italy but of course I haven’t spent time in Italy during Christmas. Back home, I see the shopping rushes and just feel like people’s lives are defined around shopping, shopping centres and owning things. Mine too. Not necessarily in a materialistic way, but in the way that our social areas have become intertwined with consumption. There’s something really odd about it. I bought ‘stuff’ for my family this year, but my tradition has never been to buy things that I think are perishable. I buy good books and CDs, mementos from far off lands and things like that. Nothing I think won’t have any value the next day. Maybe it’s better to create something instead.

Tiana Kai Madera on Facebook December 21, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Liz yessss, Target all the way! Have fun there while you are in the States. 🙂 Money is always great, but at the end of the day memories and activities always out last shiny present. I may not remember what I bought at Target, but I usually remember what fun it was going there with friends. Maybe your BF will surprise you in 2013! Merry Christmas too!!!

Tiana Kai Madera on Facebook December 21, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Sam we all fall victim to buying ‘stuff’ but as long as we do things together: cook together, go for walks, whatever it is, doing things are always cherished and remembered far more. I didn’t ‘make’ art this year, but will be cooking up a storm. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family!! Tuscany misses you!

Liz Knight on Facebook December 21, 2012 at 5:39 pm

TOTALLY agree that memories and activities are better. But my family always wants to put something under the tree so I’d rather have a Target gift card to get my Listerine and socks than another sweater, right? Rome misses youuuu!!!

Tiana Kai Madera on Facebook December 21, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Listerine all the way! We have a few gifts under the tree too! It’s never bare, but hopefully they are actually useful this year. 😉 lol. I always prefer art… 1. it doesn’t matter what size you are 2. it never goes out of fashion 3. it doesn’t go bad 4. it always makes me happy. 🙂 I have all my framed pieces in Miami, just sitting in boxes still. 🙁 But, just knowing that they are there make me happy, since I had them adoring my walls for a few years before I moved to Florence.

Liz Knight on Facebook December 21, 2012 at 5:47 pm

I had no idea you painted until this post!!

Tiana Kai Madera on Facebook December 21, 2012 at 5:55 pm

😉 I do, well I did! I have one example in my Cover shots in FB. I had a site up, but server crashed… blah blah blah… all my files are in Miami still. It was a great time in my life. I showed during Art Basel Miami, was interviewed lots, presented my work, donated my work, it was so much fun!

travel agents australia December 24, 2012 at 11:10 am

What was the most memorable gift (Christmas or not) someone has given you?
On last year Christmas i went to Goa to celebrate , and this one of my great gift.

Bethaney - Flashpacker Family January 4, 2013 at 2:36 am

Oh I’m totally onboard with your philosophy. We are in the process of getting rid of all our stuff so it’s just insane to buy more for the sake of Christmas. I would rather spend my money on experiences and making memories too.

Tiana Kai January 4, 2013 at 2:58 am

Yes, Bethany, experiences is where it’s at. Of course, it is tough when you see something that you just know your husband/wife/etc. would just love and actually get use out of. Maybe it’s more a matter of balance? I just don’t get that excited about a Christmas spectacular type of show. Give me art or a trip… or both! 😉


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