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Woman fed up with wasteful holiday 'giving' proposes a new way to celebrate the season

"Gifting in America has become insane. So I’m changing my ways."

christmas shopping, christmas gifts, materialism

A woman buying gifts for her nephews.

After becoming fed up with the material nature of the holiday season, a Redditor who goes by Somanycatsinhere, shared how she is putting her money towards things that matter rather than mindlessly buying gifts. Even though everyone's situation differs, the post is an excellent reminder that we don’t have to give someone a store-bought gift reflexively. Instead, we can focus on getting something they actually need.

“I’m over buying gifts to be thrown away or donated,” she started her post. “I decided I’m done.”

The Redditor explained she usually visits her family a few weeks before the holidays for a joint Thanksgiving and “Early Christmas” celebration, and this year, she took a different approach to gift-giving.

“I made a visit to my sister with my 3 amazing nieces. … The kids have everything they can need or want: toys and clothing-wise—and it’s all so overwhelming. The kids don’t even play with most of it. It’s just piled up everywhere,” she wrote.


​So, instead of buying them more toys and clothes, she opened up a college fund for each niece, who receives a monthly amount “gifted” to them at birthdays and Christmas.

The woman's sister is having financial difficulties, so she got her something super practical. “Took my sister to the store and told her she could fill the cart with household items and groceries for her and her husband's Christmas present. Laundry soap, paper towels, toilet paper, groceries, etc. She loved it!” she wrote.

For her nephews who have everything, the poster gave them gift cards for their annual trip to Disney.

The woman's extended family “throws nothing away” and collects “everything,” so the Redditor got them to agree to a family Christmas trip instead of exchanging gifts.

The post received over 150 comments from people who shared their approach to giving gifts during the holidays. Many who responded said they prefer to buy experiences for their family members instead of material objects.

"I gift experiences. Like membership to a batting cage for my nephew or a season pass to the zoo. I suggested horseback riding sessions or archery lessons for my daughter and some kind of jump park or karate class for my son," Savvymama30a wrote. "I've also started buying more "experience" gifts than physical items. I've gotten gift certificates for massages, fancy restaurants, and concerts or shows for my parents the past few years," Purplezara added.

During these challenging economic times, practical gifts can be a huge help.

"I think, slowly but surely, people are coming around to this way of giving. As a practical person, I thoroughly appreciate being gifted things I’ll actually use,” Yourdailysugarcube wrote. "When I was younger and newly on my own, my mom would gift me bulk items from Costco like paper towels, garbage bags, etc, and while it isn’t glamorous, it saved me a lot of money. I really appreciated those gifts!"

Ultimately, the holidays are all about spending time together, expressing gratitude for one another, and embracing the things that truly matter in life. Everyone has their love language, but this Reddit poster seems to be on the right track by focusing on giving people gifts they can use instead of something they’ll stick on a closet or get rid of at a yard sale.

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From political science to joining the fight against cancer: How one woman found her passion

An unexpected pivot to project management expanded Krystal Brady's idea of what it means to make a positive impact.

Krystal Brady/PMI

Krystal Brady utilizes her project management skills to help advance cancer research and advocacy.

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Cancer impacts nearly everyone’s life in one way or another, and thankfully, we’re learning more about treatment and prevention every day. Individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and promising research from scientists are often front and center, but we don’t always see the people working behind the scenes to make the fight possible.

People like Krystal Brady.

While studying political science in college, Brady envisioned her future self in public office. She never dreamed she’d build a successful career in the world of oncology, helping cancer researchers, doctors and advocates continue battling cancer, but more efficiently.

Brady’s journey to oncology began with a seasonal job at a small publishing company, which helped pay for college and awakened her love for managing projects. Now, 15 years later, she’s serving as director of digital experience and strategy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which she describes as “the perfect place to pair my love of project management and desire to make positive change in the world.”

As a project manager, Brady helps make big ideas for the improvement of diagnosing and treating cancer a reality. She is responsible for driving the critical projects that impact the lives of cancer researchers, doctors, and patients.

“I tell people that my job is part toolbox, part glue,” says Brady. “Being a project manager means being responsible for understanding the details of a project, knowing what tools or resources you need to execute the project, and facilitating the flow of that work to the best outcome possible. That means promoting communication, partnership, and ownership among the team for the project.”

At its heart, Brady’s project management work is about helping people. One of the big projects Brady is currently working on is ASCO’s digital transformation, which includes upgrading systems and applications to help streamline and personalize oncologists’ online experience so they can access the right resources more quickly. Whether you are managing humans or machines, there’s an extraordinary need for workers with the skillset to harness new technology and solve problems.

The digital transformation project also includes preparing for the use of emerging technologies such as generative AI to help them in their research and practices.

“Most importantly, it lays the groundwork for us to make a meaningful impact at the point of care, giving the oncologist and patient the absolute latest recommendations or guidelines for care for that specific patient or case, allowing the doctor to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork,” Brady says.

In today’s fast-changing, quickly advancing world, project management is perhaps more valuable than ever. After discovering her love for it, Brady earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification through Project Management Institute (PMI)—the premier professional organization for project managers with chapters all over the world—which she says gave her an edge over other candidates when she applied for her job at ASCO.

“The knowledge I gained in preparing for the PMP exam serves me every day in my role,” Brady says. “What I did not expect and have truly come to value is the PMI network as well – finding like-minded individuals, opportunities for continuous learning, and the ability to volunteer and give back.”

PMI’s growing community – including more than 300 chapters globally – serves as a place for project managers and individuals who use project management skills to learn and grow through events, online resources, and certification programs.

While people often think of project management in the context of corporate careers, all industries and organizations need project managers, making it a great career for those who want to elevate our world through non-profits or other service-oriented fields.

“Project management makes a difference by focusing on efficiency and outcomes, making us all a little better at what we do,” says Brady. “In almost every industry, understanding how to do our work more effectively and efficiently means more value to our customers, and the world at large, at an increased pace.”

Project management is also a stable career path in high demand as shown by PMI research, which found that the global economy will need 25 million more project managers by 2030 and that the median salary for project managers in the US has grown to $120K.

If you’d like to learn more about careers in project management, PMI has resources to help you get started or prove your proficiency, including its entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification program. For those interested in pursuing a project management career to make a difference, it could be your first step.

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