I still struggle with it. I see people in town with huge bags of gifts and I think, am I taking something vital away from my son’s childhood or my family’s happiness? Are we missing out by turning our backs to the commercials and urgent call to buy more?
We’re not missing out. We’re leading a richer life. We have less stuff but more time for the things that really matter to us: health, hobbies and each other.
We’re also slowly changing our little corner of the universe. And that feels really good.
You can do it too.
Four easy ways to change your world this Christmas.
Volunteer/Donate: it doesn’t have to be a big cheque or weeks at a soup kitchen. Give what you can where you can. Think different. Instead of sending holiday cards, Jo donates to a cause. See this list from Vicki for different ways to give (if you’re reading this site you’re probably already donating goods to a local charity – well done!).
Buy Local. If you can’t find, or don’t need, something locally made, support a local retailer. Independently owned shops need your business to survive. I know, I know, you can find it cheaper on Amazon. I’m not saying buy everything local this year but aim for 10% of your holiday gifts from a local independent retailer. Enjoy shopping in person in your community and watch your dollars stay where you live. Also, think climate change while you shop.
Give less stuff. Giving more is actually seen as giving less according to this study cited in a Globe and Mail article. While that should be reason enough to curb the overspend this year I will give you one more: the environment. It’s overwhelming to think of the carbon footprint of all that we purchase: out of season produce, electronics manufactured overseas, anything that wasn’t grown and produced locally. Let go of the guilt and simply buy less. One great much wanted gift rather than a sackful of junky filler gifts from the dollar store.
Smile. An easy way to spread abundance and joy this holiday season: smile. Smile on the street, smile at your children, smile at your spouse. It is contagious. It feels good. It’s good for your health. A smile is the easiest way to go viral.
My last tip: put up some mistletoe. I found fresh mistletoe the other day and couldn’t resist. Christmas 2011 will now be known as the kissing Christmas in our family.