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How Can You Avoid Consumerism This Holiday Season?

Halloween is just the beginning of the holiday season. Stores have long since put out Christmas decorations for sale and many children are already thinking about what they’d like for Christmas. Is there any way to avoid excessive gifts and so forth throughout the holiday season?

Remember Why You Celebrate

No matter the holiday you’re celebrating, remember why you’re celebrating it and think less of the things involved. Holidays of all sorts are celebrated for special reasons, and sometimes these reasons get lost in the drive to participate in the way family and friends have come to expect. This often leads to too much stuff being bought and a lot of stress to make everything just right.

Focus on People, Not Things

What really makes a holiday celebration a success? It’s usually not so much the gifts or even the food. It’s the people. Your best holiday celebrations are shared with people you care about. There may be some arguments and hurt feelings, but there’s a reason why holidays are such a focus for getting family together. Enjoy it as best you can.

Agree to Limit Gifts

There are many ways you can control how much is spent on holiday presents. You can agree to dollar amount limits. You can agree to shop at resale stores. You can agree to give each other things you’re done with that the other would like. You can draw names so that each person only needs to shop for a few.

Handmade gifts are another great option, especially if you have a lot of creative people in your family. Handmade gifts have a lot more personal meaning to them than anything you can give from the store.

You can also agree to simply exchange holiday greetings with extended family rather than gifts. This can be extremely welcome if finances are tight for some families.

Find something that works for your family. It may take some time – sometimes one or more people will agree at first, then fall prey to the urge to continue on as before, leaving others feeling as though they haven’t done enough. It takes a lot to make a limit on holiday shopping work, but it can be done if all participants really want it to.

As for your own children, they really don’t need a ton of presents. In my family, the stuff grandparents give them take care of most of that urge kids have to unwrap presents, while my husband’s and my main gift to them is a shopping trip with one or both of us. A budget is set, and they get to pick a toy and some new clothes, then we head out for a treat. Simple and they beg for that to be their gift each year right now. Kids love it when your time is a part of their gift. I love that the clothes they’d need anyhow can be a gift.

Give to Charity in Someone Else’s Name

A gift doesn’t have to be something that sits in the recipient’s house. It can be given to a charity the recipient approves of.

Think about programs that allow you to buy schoolbooks or livestock for people in need, or that bring clean water to communities without clean water nearby. There are a lot of great charities that help with the specific things communities need.

Think About the Food You Buy

Food is a big part of many holiday celebrations. Everyone has their favorites and their traditions. Some ways, it’s harder to change food traditions than gift giving traditions, but you can make it work.

Start with food sources. What can you buy that was grown or made locally, free range or organic? How much can you make from scratch? Can you avoid processed foods?

It’s not always easy to improve your food sources. It can be downright expensive or impractical, depending on what’s available in your area and your budget. Just do what you can.

It takes time to make major changes to how your family celebrates holidays, but the benefits are great. Not only do you give things that are more wanted, but you get less stress and more time to truly enjoy the holidays and the time with your family.

One Response to How Can You Avoid Consumerism This Holiday Season?

  1. I totally agree that spending quality time with family during the holidays is much more important than gifts. Traditions that I have always loved for Christmas is going out to get a tree (I live in MT so we can go out and cut one down in the woods for free) and decorating the tree and house with my family. It’s a great teamwork exercise and overall just a ton of fun. It definitely brings the holiday spirit alive.
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