Overcoming Consumerism at Christmastime

By on December 15, 2014

By Dr. Monique Y. Wells−

Christmas displays in stores seem to go up earlier every year, urging shoppers to start their holiday spending. That, along with commercials on television, advertisements in magazines, and seasonal reviews of the latest gadgets, gives the impression that Christmas is all about the gifts. As a result, many people become “consumed by the consumerism” of the season.

While the act of giving is central to the Christmas holiday, it does not always have to involve actual presents. Giving of yourself is more reflective of the spirit of Christmas than the giving of gifts. Here are a few suggestions to help you overcome the consumerism that tends to hijack the holidays.

1. Set a nonnegotiable limit on how much you can spend.

You can set a limit personally, or you can talk with your family about reducing how much money each of you usually spends on Christmas gifts and establishing a cap instead. As an alternative to buying unnecessary gifts, discuss ways you can spend time together while creating memories that will last forever. Make the choice to invest in your relationships rather than in material things.

2. Financially support humanitarian aid organizations.

Many charities have special projects at Christmastime that you can support by making a donation. Beyond purchasing more “stuff,” your donations can be used in ways that really matter. Organizations like World Vision, World Hope, and Samaritan’s Purse allow you designate funds to be used to supply clean water for a community in Sierra Leone, provide housing and education for an orphan in Ukraine, or send a shoebox filled with gifts to a child in Guatemala.

If you own a business, partner with a charity. This also is an excellent way to add visibility and gain traction with your values. A good example of this is Tree Classics’ partnership with Non Profits such as TryMunity, a social network for those suffering from a Traumatic Brain Injury. During the Holidays, Tree Classics donates a percentage of every sale to nationally recognized and established charitable organizations, through which the company advances its brand stewardship.

3. Volunteer at a local charity.

Community organizations such as Food Banks, Soup Kitchens, and Habitat for Humanity welcome the participation of volunteers in their charitable efforts. Many times, volunteers later express how much their involvement helped them come to appreciate what they have. Interacting with those with little or nothing is an effective antidote to the problem of consumerism.

4. Investigate the spiritual side of the holiday.

Many churches host choral or children’s presentations that emphasize the faith-based origin of Christmas, which provides a sharp contrast to Christmas consumerism. As the Christmas story involves a God who gave freely of Himself for the benefit of others, we ought to give freely of ourselves, as well. Contact a local church to inquire about special Christmas presentations as well as Christmas Eve or Christmas Day services.

Many people have been disillusioned by the rampant consumerism of Christmas, but that is no reason to give up hope. This Christmas, instead of purchasing gifts that will soon be lost, broken, or stored away in a closet, choose to invest in the things that really matter. You may not be able to thwart consumerism throughout society, but you can certainly make strides for yourself and those you love.

Dr. Monique Y. Wells is the founder of Making Productivity Easy™.  She works with successful women entrepreneur CEOs who want to simplify their workdays and find the work/life balance they desperately desire.

 

About Monique Wells

“Work/life balance” isn’t a myth. It is real for women who take inspired action to make it so. I am here to light the way. — Monique Y. Wells Monique Wells works with successful entrepreneurial CEOs who want to simplify their workdays and find the work/life balance they desperately desire. Through her guidance and support, they build a business that allows them to spend more time with their loved ones, travel, volunteer for community service, and have more fun . . . in short, they build a business that allows them to enjoy the lifestyle they want and deserve!

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Overcoming Consumerism at Christmastime