If you’re like me, and you still have lots of holiday shopping to do, I’d like to share a great way to approach your shopping and gift-giving.
Make a vow to make this holiday season less about material things and more about the true spirit of giving. Giving love, kindness, compassion, and friendship. (Mom, if you’re reading this, there’s an asterisk, parents can still give material things to their kids – LOL, love you).
Seriously, make this the year that you don’t get sucked into the materialistic buying frenzy that companies are actively pushing on you. The marketer’s job is to make you feel inadequate and then offer their product as a solution. They try to control us using psychological tricks which unfortunately work. I know what you’re thinking because everyone thinks it, you’re not influenced by the ads. Well, the numbers tell a different story, the TV ad industry alone is a 70-billion-dollar industry, and they wouldn’t spend that kind of money if it didn’t work. Still don’t think it affects you? Look around your house, if you have Apple products, non-generic shampoo or cosmetics, or clothing with brand names on them, it’s a pretty good bet you’ve been influenced by advertising. That’s the thing about it, you don’t even realize that it’s affecting you.
I’m not suggesting you don’t ever buy gifts, what I’d like to suggest is we start to spend with more thought.
Ask yourself some questions before you make a purchase. The first and most important, is can I afford it? That means, if you’re not paying off your credit card at the end of every month, you should only be thinking of non-materialistic ways to give. If you’re still feeling pressure to buy, ask yourself, “what will happen if I don’t buy it?”
The next question is “do I really need to spend money on this person to show them how much I care about them?” There is so much pressure for people to spend money and buy gifts for friends and family and we feel guilty and cheap if we don’t. We get stressed over who to buy gifts for, worrying about forgetting someone, worrying about how much to spend and what gift to buy, and of course, worrying about spending money we can’t afford just to please others. Don’t buy into it!
The truth is we show our love by giving our time and care, not by buying material goods. So, opt-out of the consumerization of the holidays.
There are so many great gift ideas that cost zero to just a few dollars. Give handwritten IOU’s for hugs, foot massages, home-made anything, share a skill you have such as knitting, cooking, computer expertise, teaching yoga, etc. Make this holiday more about experiences than things. Take someone to a show, an adventure park, a hike, or give a facial or manicure. Be creative, put together a gift box, maybe a variety of chocolates, bath salts, lotions, or other treats. Better yet, make this a fun, shared experience and get together with friends, share some wine and make gifts for each of you to give (cookies, fudge, candles, coasters, whatever). Need more ideas, try googling the best DIY gift ideas.
Take a step back from all the stress. Recognize that all the holiday marketing benefits the “manufacturers, stores, and huge corporations while driving you into debt. You know this annual consumer frenzy wreaks havoc on the environment, filling landfills with useless packaging and discarded gifts. Yet, every year, you cave in and go shopping!”
This is the year to be more thoughtful about your gift-giving. Give the gift that all of us actually need the most, love, friendship and family.
I’d love it if you would share in the comments below any great free or low-cost gift ideas you have.
As always, I’d appreciate it if you would help me get the word out about the Matt Kurtz Kindness Award of $250 (nominate someone who inspires you) and the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $250 (submit an act of kindness you would do with $250).