A few years back, Dave and I started our own family Christmas tradition and it’s brought such joy to us, helping redirect the focus of the season back to what really counts.
We’re not alone; a lot of people seem enthused about the idea of bringing the consumerism down a notch for the holidays, replacing it with tangible giving [and giving up on our part] for those in need.
We live in such excess and plenty these days and truly, all we really need more of is love, not another dust collector or regift!
While it can feel hopeless at times fighting the monster of consumerism, every act when done in love becomes great… no matter how seemingly small or insignificant.
8 ways to Reduce Consumerism and Give Back this Christmas
1. Don’t use Credit Cards
While it can be tempting to buy now and pay later, statistics prove that we spend 25% more when we use credits cards as oppose to cold hard cash.
Try living within your means this season and purchasing only what you can afford with cash!
It may call for creativity but you’d be surprised what you can come up with when you’re forced to.
It’s freeing [not to mention stress free] not owing anybody anything when the season’s finished.
2. Stay out of Debt
Start with number one and then extend it by making this your new years resolution!
Dave and I used to live pay cheque to pay cheque, always stressed when things were tight or unexpected expenses crept up. While it was the hardest and most challenging decision we ever made…
choosing to live debt free and keep it that way has bought more joy, contentment and peace than we ever thought imaginable.
The benefits FAR outweighed the sacrifices [and continue to] and we quickly discovered that we have all we really need right now, in each other.
You can work with a financial advisor or coach, who will look at your situation specifically and get you started on the right foot with accountability. Dave and I work with Will Ray and we cannot recommend his services enough!
3. Buy from independent artisans/ artists
Avoid cross border shopping and keep your purchases local. Start with your own town by supporting little boutiques and if you HAVE TO buy from a chain store, keep it to ones that are established and maintained in your own country.
For my own little town of Port Moody, local business put 47 cents for every dollar back into our own city, as compared to less than 5 cents by the bigger chain departments and grocery stores.
As an entrepreneur, I’d rather support the little guys anyway because….
When you support a small business you’re not helping a CEO buy a third vacation home. You’re helping a little girl take dance lessons, a mom put food on the table, a husband support his family, a student pay off their college debt and a couple go on date nights to celebrate the love that brought them together!
4. Support Global Micro Enterprises
For the cost of one weeks worth of coffees, you can change the life of someone just like you.
We all want dignity and respect…. a leg up, not a hand out!
Micro loans have an incredibly high success rate when it comes to repayment and helping create sustainable, actionable change. Once the original loan is repaid, that same donation can be redistributed to yet another person in need. Who knows how far your loan can go and how many people it will bless.
There’s only one way to find out! Check out Kiva.
5. Buy used/ second hand and up cycle
It’s amazing the resources and things we have at our finger tips if we’d simply dig a little. With the vast amount of wealth circulating, there’s hoards of like-new/ hardly used items just waiting to be snatched up.
Rather than buying new, try asking around if someone has one for borrow or purchase second hand using craigslist, kijiji and online auctions like, “Bidding Wars” or “Swap and Trade” on Facebook.
I recently challenged myself to not buy a single new item for our nursery or baby gear, as we prepare for the arrival of our sweet baby girl this March!
6. Make Handmade gifts
Need I even give you inspiration with the revolution of Pinterest?! There are so many DIY Christmas Gift ideas out there, you could craft/bake/make straight until the reindeer fly!
My husband and I have made gifts for two years in a row now and despite our initial concerns that people would think we were “cheaping out” on them, they sincerely appreciated the thought and love behind it.
7. Spend time instead of money
No matter who they are or whether or not they’ll admit it, what we all crave most is love and quality time with those that matter.
These are the things and the memories we cherish most! So set a date and make a plan: do something rather than buy them something.
Try combining number six with seven and make them something tangible to share your gift of time!
8. Give the Gift of Hope
Give someone hope when they feel forgotten. Tell them they matter when they think that no one cares.
Be it in someones name, as a client gift or simply picking out a way to give back as a family, give gifts that change lives through social good and non-profit organizations’ gift catalogues:
Know of other organizations that are doing good and giving back? How about more ways to reduce consumerism this Christmas?
Share them by COMMENTING BELOW.
Together, we can start a revolution of giving and celebrate the real heart of Christmas with life’s most precious gift: love.