Things, people, experiences

The author got his girlfriend a ticket to go up Rockefeller tower in NYC and she took this photo – it was a gift!

Colin Kusz

Coming out of the holiday season and recently having had my birthday on January 8th, I’ve received all of my gifts for the next year within a 2-week timeframe – for the 28th time in my life.

What I’ve come to realize is that things are great. When you get a new device it is exciting, fun, and interesting. It makes life easier and it keeps you entertained. If you get a new set of clothes, you feel great because you look good. American Football Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders, said, “When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you play good. When you play good, they pay good.” That’s why I like to dress nicely for work – it’s nice to feel confident in the clothes you wear. If someone buys you a gift that has some sentiment, it can mean the world to you – no matter the dollar value. Everyone has things they need, so getting those things for them will always be appreciated. Things make great gifts, even if they can get lost, broken, become obsolete, cause clutter, or need replacing.

What I find to be better than things are experiences. When someone buys a gift and it has an event or activity attached to it, it becomes so much more than just a tangible item. Having a great time creates a memory, memories sustain longer than objects, they can be captured with photos, and they become stories that you can tell for decades. If you buy someone an experience, make sure they have time to get excited about it – anticipation can make a good time a great time, just because they had to wait for it. Experiences are the type of gift that I like to give, because the joy of it lasts long after it’s happened; after it’s been experienced.

What is better than things, and experiences, are the people in your life. In the past couple of years, I’ve spent birthdays and Christmases abroad, but what made them special for me, even though I was so far from home, was having amazing people to spend it with. Spending those special days with people you love and care about is an irreplaceable feeling. When key people show up, just because it’s your ‘day’, that is all I need on my birthday. If those people are far away, a phone call can mean the world to you. It’s the time; it’s the effort that people put in that means more than any iPad ever could. I never remember how nice it is for someone to say “happy birthday” until my day comes around again.

Getting a gift of any kind is really great. It’s nice to feel appreciated or rewarded or celebrated. Having my birthday in winter, it always feels warmer when people come together for me. If you combine people, things, and experiences, life is sweet. That’s why we have birthday parties and that’s why we have festive occasions – to come together.