The holidays are upon us. Each year we can get pulled into feeling the need to get everyone the perfect gift. However, the commercialism and waste surrounding these holidays often can cause us anxiety and stress to meet the financial expectations that commercialism has drilled into us since childhood. I realized that I had a choice not to buy into it.
The waste is well, HUGE. The marketing, shipping, stocking, manpower, electrical usage (think of how much the electricity costs for those Christmas lights), and transportation costs is just a start. Then the financial strain of not meeting these expectations can cause individual stress and depression.
Here are some ideas to not put think about and tame the commercial side of the holidays and still have joy:
Focus on what is important. Isn’t it about spending time with your loved ones? Plan something to do together that will give everyone a beautiful memory. Baking cookies or some loaves of bread and having tea can be a simple activity to enjoy time together. Then send home some cookies and a loaf and package up the rest with a favorite tea and deliver to a friend or neighbor.
- Celebrate Christmas as it was intended, not the commercial marketing ploy to buy tons of presents. The true meaning gets lost.
- Ask your family and friends NOT to give gifts, or draw names for a gift exchange with a price limit. This exchange can be more fun than a gathering of long drawn out unwrapping of “more stuff.”
- DO you have a special talent or hobby? Make some gifts. A handmade gift or homemade food such as as a jam, cookies or candy is a nice gift to give and receive. A handsewn item, artistic project, an herbal tea in a antique teacup (you can pick these up at garage sales for practically nothing. Start looking out for items that can be personalized throughout the year. I have a beekeeper friend who gave me one year some lavender infused honey, what a sweet treat.
- Buy used and you will reduce the impact to the planet and your pocketbook. You can find amazingly expensive clothing, antiques, furniture, jewelry, and household items at consignment, thrift or Goodwill stores for reasonable. I have a friend who shopped Goodwill for several months and bought all her presents there last year and she felt good knowing she was recycling these goods and giving from the heart.
- Don’t charge a thing. Getting the charge card statement after the holidays can really make it stressful to pay for the shopping season.
- Simplify entertaining will help take the stress off too. Ask friends and family to bring a dish and you won’t feel the pressure to prepare all the food and the expense. Keep it simple and remember nothing brings you down faster than eating sugary, unhealthy foods that will set you up for the New Year resolution of having to lose those extra pounds put on since Halloween or Thanksgiving. Eat healthy and keep your brain happy too!
Most of all, realize that your family and friends really just want to spend time with you, not get a fancy gift. It is the personalization of what you give that matters and more importantly love and time.