Hang memories on your Christmas tree

Thought I’d share a tip we use around here that makes me happy at least once a year.

When traveling, we follow a pretty strict “no souvenirs” policy, with one exception – we try and pick up something we can hang on the Christmas tree, to remind us of the trip.

Key rules:

  • It can’t be an ‘official ornament’.
  • It gets stored when the tree comes down.

In the past we’ve repurposed totem keychains from Vancouver, thimbles from NYC, and a baby sock with a Cubs logo on it. There’s even a brass armadillo from Austin that’s hanging courtesy of some old twist ties.

Here’s why it works:

  • It gives you something fun to look for when you’re on vacation.
  • It makes you feel good when you decorate the tree every year. You think back on these fun trips, versus thinking,  “look, a shiny ball”.
  • It gives visitors to your house something to talk about.
  • Perhaps best of all…it gets stored away most of the time – so it’s not cluttering up your house!

Speaking of happiness in general – there’s a great book called Stumbling on Happiness that’s essentially a summary of various research studies about the kind of choices that typically make people happy – the results will almost certainly surprise you.

Here’s one tip from the book: If you have a favorite dish at a restaurant – don’t waste your time ordering other items to see if you can find a second favorite at that spot.  Odds are low.

Another tip: over the long term, you’re more likely to be happy with a purchase if you bought it from a “NO RETURN” policy…how counter-intuitive is that??

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