Everybody loves going on vacation and here’s why: it makes for good conversations. Really. The short term gain of increased happiness from a vacation is very short indeed, just a few days. However, the benefit of a vacation can keep giving through your social life as you relive (and share) your experience.
To make your vacation really happy be sure to make the first few days the most fun and go someplace that is interesting instead of the beach.
In terms of happiness-per-dollar-spent, vacations are the right idea in general. A lot of past research has suggested that experiences in general provide more happiness than material goods. That’s partly because — excited new owners of the latest iPhone who won’t shut up notwithstanding — humans generally have more of a tendency to talk about experiences than mere stuff. “When one buys an experience, they seem to be buying themselves a story as well,” said Dr. Amit Kumar, a social psychologist and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business who studies the relationship between money and happiness. “So one way vacations continue to provide hedonic benefits even after they’ve long since passed is because they live on in the stories we tell.”
Many people who celebrate Christmas (or similar holidays of gift-giving) tend to focus on giving mass quantities or expensive gifts without regard. Man vs. Debt is a blog that focuses on getting rid of material things (and not getting new material goods) and they have a good post up on what you can do this Christmas to give something great to people and not committing acts of blind consumerism.
The plan on what to do is on you.
Courtney and I have decided to severely limit the gifts we buy this year. We won’t be buying for each other (instead we are making huge life changes – trust me – we are spending enough on those “gifts”).
We’ve bought a few small traditional “gifts” for younger family members, but decided that we would make small donations on behalf of any adults in our life. We’ll be browsing to attempt to find charities and non-profits that reflect the values of each family member and rather than buy them golf balls or a candle, we’ll make a small donation.
We are lucky that none of our family really cares about the “stuff”. The donations will be a valued gesture and by customizing each one, we show that we took time to think about and appreciate the personality of each family member.
Read more at Man Vs. Debt.
Planet Green has some tips on how to save time and be greener during the holidays. It’s easy being green.
Be casual about the holidays.
The holidays are about spending time with the family not getting all decked out in formal gear and having a five star meal. Spend Christmas at home with your family and instead of your holiday best, wear PJs and relax. Assign each family member a dish that can be prepared ahead of time so you won’t be a slave to the kitchen for hours and hours.