Written by Clint & Aimee
To us, wealth is not about the stockpile of cash in the bank and items we own but is about the abundance of happy memories and experiences we have, as well as the relationships we hold dear.
Christmas time is often filled with spending time and money on accumulating gifts and decorations, and while those things can bring an element of enjoyment and fun, the most reward and fulfillment comes more from the experiences we have in life and the people we share them with.
Being fans of living relatively minimally and naturally we focus less on giving large quantities of ‘stuff’ to friends and family at Christmas time and prefer to come up with creative and thoughtful presents that our loved ones can receive more of a ‘human’ benefit from and truly find enjoyment in.
There’s nothing wrong with giving a child a toy, for example, but if they already have lots of toys at home why give them more of the same type of thing when you could give them something unique, special and fulfilling on a deeper level?
We enjoy making special gifts for our niece and nephews such as survival tools they can get years of use out of and that we can experience with them, and taking them out of the house and the suburbs for fun and memorable experiences they can’t get from simply playing with a toy indoors or playing at the local park. One of our favourite experiences to give them is taking them camping for two nights at a time out to the country where they can get plenty of fresh air, time off from playing on tech gadgets, kick their shoes off, go hunting, practice bushcraft and traditional human skills, go for bushwalks, swim in the creeks, rock skimming, experience discomfort such as cold nights, hot days, prickles, splinters and all those things that help increase resilience and build character.
When we’re not camping with the kids we enjoy camping with friends and their families and believe the wealth we generate from those experiences definitely exceeds that of what we get from the accumulation of more ‘stuff’ from gifts we don’t really need.
Aiming to go camping around the Christmas period can be challenging because we’re all so busy leading up to the big day and then we’re taking time to recover from all the madness when Christmas and New Year’s are over, but even making time for simple day trips with friends and family can be just as rewarding and special.
Taking day trips to parklands, beaches and bushlands you haven’t been to before can be great because not only are you getting out of the house and into nature, you’re experiencing all new environments, scenery and creating unique memories you’ll have forever. Pack a picnic, take a blanket, take some outdoor games, even cook on public BBQ’s provided (means less washing up when you get home!), grab the fishing gear and the binoculars and make the most of exploring somewhere new.
Besides the benefits spending time in nature has to our physical health and wellbeing, the social and emotional benefits are worth considering. Especially when you get out and about with friends, more so those you don’t often see and tend to only communicate with on social media and email.
With the constant increase of tech and digital communication methods and how easy it is to stay ‘connected’ with people there’s actually becoming a major lack in quality and true connection with other human beings because nothing beats physically spending time with people, in person, not via a screen. No matter how many emojis and GIFs we share with friends and family online, we can’t possibly experience true connection and build quality relationships when we never get together with those people.
How many of your Facebook friends live near you but never see you? Probably many! Kids and adults alike are spending more time communicating with others via digital platforms today than actually getting together and physically spending time with people.
This is obviously going to create social and emotional challenges and deficiencies over time. Social anxiety, depression and suicide rates are rising and we’re spending less time actually with people.
So we invite you this Christmas to, instead of focusing on giving ‘things’ to friends and family as gifts, instead give experiences! Organise a day trip or camping weekend, even just to a local natural environment close to where you live, because the wealth you’ll accumulate from the experiences had and the memories made will be truly special and rewarding.
Maybe buy a few less presents, put that money aside, pay for fuel and nice foods to take camping or on a day adventure and get more out of Christmas this year. Spending quality time with people outdoors in nature generates the most interesting conversations, creates strong bonds and positive relationships, helps reduce stress and depression and helps promote open-mindedness and empathy.
Better health and happiness… true wealth.