Day 5 | If it’s the thought that counts, why’d you spend so much money?

Just how obsessive is the American culture about buying just the right holiday gift?

I don’t know, Kevin, how obsessive are we?

We’re so obsessive that in the UK—which doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving—shoppers there have adopted our Black Friday concept. I was gobsmacked!

We’re so obsessive about shopping online that we’re setting records every year! Online shoppers in the United States will spend an estimated $327 billion in 2016, up 45% from $226 billion this year and 62% from $202 billion in 2011! I’m in the wrong business!

We’re so obsessive, that the QVC shopping TV channel (“Quality, Value, Convenience”) runs in six countries—China among them—and reaches more than 235 million households! (“…act now, not much time remaining for this special…”)

Whether it’s at work, with your boss, or your employees, or it’s a mom and a dad looking at what they’re getting for kids, or it’s a husband and wife, or it’s people who are dating—well, we like to buy things for them.

But time out. If it’s the thought that counts during the holidays, what are we asking our gifts to do? Sometimes we ask gifts to do things they can’t do.

Before you spend the money on a present, do a little self check. Am I asking this gift to repair a relationship? Am I asking it to bring us closer? When we ask gifts to do more than they can, we might be heading down a bad road, open for all manner of disappointed and resentment. If you’re not sure what that looks like, it usually starts with “That’s the last time I will ever…Well, see if I ever…., Did you see her, she didn’t even….”

But if my gift is a reflection of my thoughts and feelings about a particular relationship, then it might just be the perfect way to thoughtfully communicate the thought.

Bottom line: If it’s the thought that counts this holiday season, let’s be mindful. You might just save a little money…and some obsessive, compulsive tendencies when it comes to shopping!

–Dr. Kevin Gilliland, for the team at Innovation 360