I’m happy to announce the new 2013 Uncle Mark gift guide and almanac: download the PDF. This is the 10th annual guide – wow!
This is a much shorter guide than past years, for reasons I explain in the guide. Here’s how it starts:
A couple of weeks ago I went out to Long Island for a day to help clean up after Superstorm Sandy. I was assigned to a damaged house near the ocean. While taking a break from ripping out ruined insulation I was approached by the homeowner, who began talking about her experience of the storm and its aftermath. She said that she was bothered by the sheer amount of “junk” (her word) that had to be removed from her waterlogged house. She summed it up this way: “Why did I buy so much stuff?”
I have been thinking about her comment ever since. Every year around this time, late autumn, I compile my suggestions for gifts to buy during the upcoming holiday season. This is the tenth annual gift guide, so I suppose I should feel some kind of celebration. But I’m not sure I do.
I’d rather not encourage anyone to buy “stuff.” I can suggest some purchases, but they’re mostly with the aim of enabling people to live with fewer things. More broadly, I think that citizens of the U.S. and other wealthy nations have to find a better way of creating, buying, and consuming material goods. Between the strain on the global economy and the environment, we’ll be forced to make this shift eventually. But it’s easier to get started early.
Please share this year’s guide, if you agree with my suggestions. Here’s the Uncle Mark 2013 guide.