What with Marie Kondo, the growth of digital media replacing the need for DVDs and CDs, and so much more, it seems like people are becoming less and less interested in physical, material possessions.

It's not a bad thing, I must admit. As a matter of fact, it could work very well together with this year's unfortunate holiday changes.

Aside from those people for whom I am already making gifts, I've decided this might be the year of the experience, the year of the dinner or the year of the free groceries. Gift certificates and gift cards have been around forever, but I think they've never been a more appropriate, or more welcome, gift.

Not only are people wanting less clutter in their homes, but a gift certificate offers them a chance to enjoy your present later, if they don't feel like doing so now.

Our local bars and restaurants offer some great food, no doubt, but they are going to have some rough roads ahead. Now would be the time to see if they have gift certificates. Buy a bunch and give them to friends. If your friends don't feel comfortable even doing curbside pickup right now, that's OK. They can probably hold the gift cards for a year or maybe more.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Know a couple who likes to get out but rarely has the money? Get them movie ticket vouchers. The local theaters are hurting too. If they are particularly special to you, package them with gift cards to a fancy restaurant.

Know a family who is going to be hurting financially? Get a gift card to your local grocer or a place that might sell gifts appropriate for their family and give it to them in a Christmas card ahead of the holiday. Just make sure to tell them to open it ahead of time. It will be a Christmas gift that everyone will appreciate.

Everywhere you go between now and Christmas, I suggest you ask if they have gift certificates. I'd say just make it rain with gift certificates this year, and if you really want to treat your local businesses well, give the certificates to that uncle or friend who is super unorganized. If they are like me, that certificate might get lost before they can ever cash it in.

You can donate to a charity in their name and get them a certificate saying so.

Christmas has become so commercial and material that if there's no other silver lining you can see, see this one. This Christmas could be the last for some businesses out there, but maybe if we look to the future when all this is a memory, and we try really hard, it won't have to be. And we won't have some junk that we have to put away or organize in the closet.

We'll have a promise of a day out, eating with friends, watching movies or watching young children open gifts or enjoy a particularly big Christmas ham.

As bad as things seem right now, we have a ton to be grateful for. With Thanksgiving here, I think it's up to us to work hard to make even more things for which to be grateful. From a Christian point of view, this is an opportunity to really celebrate right.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Travis.