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Woman claims we should start normalizing practical gifts, and she makes some strong points

Remember—who are the gifts supposed to be for?

practical gifts for christmas, christmas gifts, practical gifts
@jaii.bee/TikTok

Practical gifts are just as valuable as novelty ones.

Practical gifts for Christmas are underrated. There, I said it.

Sure, it’s great to receive fun clothes and knickknacks and whatnot, but have you ever felt the pure bliss of unwrapping something truly useful? Something that you might have even kept hovering in the amazon cart forever, but could never find a proper excuse to pull the trigger? That’s an emotional combination of excitement, relief and yes, joy, that simply can’t be beat.

And yet, many gift givers still feel the pressure to buy super sentimental or clever—not to mention expensive—items during the holidays, even when the recipient has asked otherwise.

While the intention is surely to show their loved one how much they mean to them, proceeding to choose indulgence over senseability could be a form of disrespect, and lose sight on what the meaning behind gift giving is in the first place.


This could especially be said of parents with adult or teenage children, argues a woman named Katie (@jaii.bee).

In a video posted to her TikTok, Katie offered a “reminder” that if parents ask their teen/adult kid what they’d like for Christmas (of their birthday) and their kids suggests they help pay for a bill, offer some gas or grocery money, or replenish some facial cleanser, and they reject the request by saying “that’s not a gift,” that they’re in the wrong.

Katie then doubled down on her point by saying that if parents feel this way, they’re actually buying a gift for themselves, not their children.

“And that is not how gifts are supposed to work,” she stated.

@jaii.bee agree or disagree? #adultchildren #psa ♬ original sound - JB | If You're Mid, Stay Mad

She also stressed that it’s almost impossible to enjoy “something nice” when the basic necessities can’t be taken care of. And that honestly, no adult would ask their parents for this stuff unless they absolutely needed to. If parents are able to do both, then great. But otherwise, just get them what they asked for.

Lastly, Katie asserted that “if you give someone cash as a gift and they don’t use it in the way you want them to, that has nothing to do with you.” Once that person has the cash in hand, it's theirs to do with as they see fit.

“Maybe it’s a little controversial,” she concluded, “but if someone is specifically asking you for something and you can get them that thing and you choose not to, you’re bad at giving gifts.”

Katie is apparently not alone in her stance. Several folks commented in support of practical gifts, including many whose favorite gifts ever received were everyday items. Others poked fun at the logic—or lack thereof—behind certain novelty gifts.

Here’s a small sampling:

“My mom bought me tires for my car and I literally sobbed. Best gift ever. Peace, safety, and a weight off my back. This is sooo true!”

“Parents be like, ‘cash isn’t a personal enough gift!’ And then get you some generic wall art.’

“My dad fills our freezer with meat every Christmas. My favorite gift.”

“I asked my 22-year-old what she wanted. She said food and cat litter and gas and shoes for work. She will get all of that for Christmas.”

“For 17 years I’ve been bought decor as gifts, not a single piece has ever been on display in my house because I don’t do decor.”

May this story serve as a gentle PSA to not succumb to the siren song of Christmas-time consumerism. Don’t buy kitschy things just to buy them, especially when something like a bill being paid for or groceries being taken care of can really, truly make someone light up for the holidays. Perhaps there is no gift more personal than exactly what a person asked for.

True

Do you ever feel like you could be doing more when it comes to making a positive impact on your community? The messaging around giving back is louder than ever this time of year, and for good reason; It is the season of giving, after all.

If you’ve ever wondered who is responsible for bringing many of the giving-back initiatives to life, it’s probably not who you’d expect. The masterminds behind these types of campaigns are project managers.

Using their talents and skills, often proven by earning certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), project managers are driving real change and increasing the success rate on projects that truly improve our world.

To celebrate the work that project managers are doing behind the scenes to make a difference, we spoke with two people doing more than their part to make an impact.

In his current role as a Project Management Professional (PMP)-certified project manager and environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Joshua Williard oversees the cleanup of some of America’s most contaminated and hazardous waste sites.

Courtesy of Joshua Williard

“Recently, I was part of a four-person diving team sent to collect contaminated sediment samples from the bottom of a river in Southeastern Virginia. We wanted to ensure a containment wall was successfully blocking the release of waste into an adjacent river,” Williard says.

Through his work, Josh drives restoration efforts to completion so contaminated land can again be used beneficially, and so future generations will not be at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals.

“I’ve been inspired by the natural world from a young age and always loved being outside. As I gained an understanding about Earth's trajectory, I realized that I wanted to be part of trying to save it and keep it for future generations.

“I learned the importance of using different management styles to address various project challenges. I saw the value in building meaningful relationships with key community members. I came to see that effective project management can make a real difference in getting things done and having on-the-ground impact,” Williard says.

In addition, Monica Chan’s career in project management has enabled her to work at the forefront of conservation efforts with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US). She most recently has been managing a climate change project, working with a diverse team including scientists, policy experts, data analysts, biologists, communicators, and more. The goal is to leverage grants to protect and restore mangroves, forests, and ecosystems, and drive demand in seaweed farming – all to harness nature's power to address the climate crisis.

Courtesy of Monica Chan

“As the project management lead for WWF-US, I am collaborating across the organization to build a project management framework that adapts to our diverse projects. Given that WWF's overarching objectives center on conserving nature and addressing imminent threats to the diversity of life on Earth, the stakes are exceptionally high in how we approach projects,” says Chan.

“Throughout my journey, I've discovered a deep passion for project management's ability to unite people for shared goals, contributing meaningfully to environmental conservation,” she says.

With skills learned from on-the-job experience and resources from PMI, project managers are the central point of connection for social impact campaigns, driving them forward and solving problems along the way. They are integral to bringing these projects to life, and they find support from their peers in PMI’s community.

PMI has a global network of more than 300 chapters and serves as a community for project managers – at every stage of their career. Members can share knowledge, celebrate impact, and learn together through resources, events, and other programs such as PMI’s Hours for Impact program, which encourages PMI members to volunteer their time to projects directly supporting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“By tapping into PMI's extensive network and resources, I've expanded my project management knowledge and skills, gaining insights from seasoned professionals in diverse industries, including environmental management. Exposure to different perspectives has kept me informed about industry trends, best practices, and allowed me to tailor my approach to the unique challenges of the non-profit sector,” Chan says.

“Obtaining my PMP certification has been a game-changer, propelling not only my career growth, but also reshaping my approach to daily projects, both personally and professionally,” Chan says. Research from PMI shows that a career in project management means being part of an industry on the rise, as the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030 and the median salary for project practitioners in the U.S. is $120K.

PMI’s mission is to help professionals build project management skills through online courses, networking, and other learning opportunities, help them prove their proficiency in project management through certifications, and champion the work that project professionals, like Joshua and Monica, do around the world.

For those interested in pursuing a career in project management to help make a difference, PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification could be the starting point to help get your foot in the door.

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