Money is a Tool, Time is the Prize: No Holiday Gift Guides Here

December 11, 2018


Last year, right around this time, I wrote a blog post that got a lot of attention about the importance of experiences over piles of presents full of more stuff under the tree.

View the original blog post here.

Call it my inner minimalist, but it causes me some distress when I drive past the mall this time of year and see it teeming with people, struggling under the weight of more bags than they can carry, impatiently waiting for a closer parking spot, and potentially spending more time searching for a gift than with the loved ones they are purchasing for.

Gifting people items that excites them or that they truly need is a beautiful thing.  There’s no judgement from me about that, because I love doing that for others too.

But overall the holiday season, regardless of what you celebrate, is a magical time because of the people you spend it with, the special meals shared, the board games played, and the laughter, hugs, and love.  Not because of the amount of money you dropped on presents that will potentially spend the next 12 months collecting dust until they are shifted aside to make room for new gifts in a year’s time.

I didn’t always feel this way.  In fact, I’m an only child and grew up in a middle class household with a lot more gifts under the Christmas tree with my name on them than I could possibly need.  My town was quite affluent, and though I was definitely not among the kids in my high school parking their Cadillac Escalades before class, I’ve been very aware from a very young age that I am incredibly fortunate and extremely privileged to have the upbringing that I did.

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned the most over the years, it’s this: that money is a tool, but time is the real prize.

When you’re shopping this year, here are 3 questions I encourage you to ask yourself when it comes to giving gifts:

  1. What will bring the most joy to my loved ones?
  2. What will be the most memorable?
  3. Do I really need to give/receive more “stuff”?

There are so many other ways to give gifts that are better than anything you can purchase in a store.

When you think back to holidays past, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?  All those gifts you received under the tree (or for Hanukkah, or any other holiday you might celebrate) that are now collecting dust?  Or the smell of a special meal wafting from the kitchen, the taste of your grandmother’s pie, and how hard you laughed playing board games with your loved ones over a cup of cocoa?  Which one is most important to you?

I’m challenging you to start thinking hard about your priorities and what means the most to you.

This doesn’t just apply to the holidays either, this kind of spirit can be carried with you throughout the year.

Ideas for experiences to gift:

  • Checking out a new coffee shop with a friend, or inviting them over to your house for a cup of tea and a special visit
  • Go for a walk or hike a new trail
  • Host a game night
  • Have a dinner party for friends, or make it a potluck
  • Taking a cooking class with your partner or a friend, or try something totally different (I’ve gifted passes to trampoline parks, floats in saltwater where it’s super relaxing, yoga classes, zoo passes, movie passes although I don’t love that one as much, workshops, etc.)
  • Does a friend or neighbour need something fixed and they don’t know how but you do?  That would mean the world to them
  • Having friends for a home cooked meal, or make it a potluck so you can all try something new.  Better yet, trying cooking. a new dish together.
  • Volunteering to be a babysitter for the night so a friend can have a much-needed night out.
  • Road trip to somewhere within driving distance you’ve always wanted to check out, or play tourist in your own city





I’m hosting the Whole Health Summit with 10 other professionals and coaches in the health and wellness space, and we’ve joined forces to give you a selection of incredible programs totally FREE until December 21st, 2018.  After that you can still access all of the goodies, but they’ll have price tags attached.  This is an incredible opportunity and we won’t be offering it again, make sure to grab all the details here.

When you sign up for the Summit you’ll be able to access my BRAND NEW 5-day mini course, Chaos to Calm, all about learning to reduce stress, anxiety and overwhelm.  This might be one of my favourite things I’ve ever put together, and you’re going to walk away with a greater understanding and awareness of how stress shows up, and incredibly specific tools I use in my own life every single day to deal with anxiety and overwhelm.  Don’t miss this while it’s free, grab your copy by registering for the Whole Health Summit.


And FINALLY, my brand new training, Launch Like A Pro Podcasting webinar!  I get SO MANY questions about starting a podcast, and I wanted to put together something incredible valuable to teach you what you need to know.  It’s all going down on Tuesday, December 11th @ 7:30pm EST.

This training will cover the 3 secrets no one tells you about how to finally start a podcast and how to successfully launch in 6 weeks! You’ll learn:

1. How to decide if you should have a co-host or go solo, and the ONE single thing that will determine if your podcast is going to be a success.

2. The exact way to build lasting, authentic relationships with potential guests that might seem otherwise out of reach to grow your business.

3. How to prepare for your launch date from start to finish and properly submit your podcast for approval to Apple and the other major platforms.

Podcasting is one of my favourite things to do. It has allowed me to build trust with my audience, grow my business, expand on a new platform, and build strong relationships with people across multiple industries I would otherwise have never had an oppourtunity to connect with.

After launching two separate podcasts since November 2017, including one with a co-host and now my current podcast on my own, I’ve learned and implemented strategies that I want to share with you that will help you navigate how to successfully and confidently create your own podcast and business.

You ready to stop talking about starting a podcast and actually DO it?? Grab your spot for the training here. 



Want to chat more and do a deeper dive into this topic and get access to live videos, exclusive guest appearances and discussions?  The Room to Grow Podcast Facebook group is a judgement-free safe space to open up, and I’d love to welcome you in with the other amazing women in the group.  It’s the best place to go for a little extra support.  See you over there!

You can also email me at, or DM me over on Instagram @emilygoughcoach with any questions, comments, or takeaways!  Plus, I would absolutely love to connect with you and thank you for listening in real life.  It makes me day to see you listening to the podcast and fills me up with pure joy. Seriously.  See you on the ‘gram!

Questions?  Comments?  If Instagram and Facebook aren’t your jam, send me a good old fashioned email!


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