I checked my email this morning just as I do on most mornings, and what I saw made me realize that I am different. Very different. And I don’t mind being different because what I saw upset me.
The majority of my emails were nothing more than attempts to sell me something that I don’t even want. More specifically, they were emails sent out on the first day of November with subjects that read:
Beat Black Friday!
Buy More Now and Save!
Save 25% Now on Your Christmas Shopping!
Why Wait Until Black Friday? Save Now!
And if that wasn’t enough, I even got one with this:
Save Now on Thanksgiving Gifts for Everyone!
Thanksgiving gifts? Since when do we give gifts on Thanksgiving? What did I miss?
All of those emails really annoyed me. They annoyed me because they all took away from the season of thanks and forced the focus on consumerism. Buy… Buy… Buy!!!
Look, I do buy Christmas gifts. My kids get presents. My husband gets a present. And they get me a present. But a couple of years ago, I started to realize that more was not better at this time. I guess Christmas shopping was sort of the precursor to what is now my quest for a more minimalist lifestyle.
After taking some time to really evaluate Christmas morning, I realized that most of the gifts were just junk that would sit collecting dust. I realized that the kids got overwhelmed by too much and that they eventually got to a point where “thank you” stopped coming and glazed over eyes started to show up.
So I started downsizing Christmas.
I went from multiple gifts for the kids to just a few… One from the jolly elf up North, one or two from Mom and Dad, one from a sibling, one that both can enjoy (like a board game), and then the stocking stuffers. Small bits, really. And my husband and I each receive one thing from the kids. We generally don’t even get each other gifts because we tend to just buy what we need when we need it.
And you know what…. Everyone was happier with this change!
By minimizing Christmas, a lot more thought gets put into the gifts. What we’ve seen is that less sits collecting dust and more actually gets enjoyed.
I’m not telling anyone out there that they have to do the same. In reality, you have to do what is right for your family. But what I am saying is that we live in a society that is geared towards excess and it is increasingly evident this time of year.
Marketing is all about making you feel like you’re missing out. These emails are showing up with no other purpose than to entice you into buying junk that you don’t need or even want. The holiday season shouldn’t be a time about going into debt… Yet so many people do. And most of the time, it’s because they fall victim to the marketing that makes them feel like they aren’t measuring up if they don’t spend more.
I recently read that the average four person family spends $800 on gifts for just them alone. That doesn’t count extended family or friends. I have no idea if that statistic is correct, but it sounds accurate enough for me to share.
Call me crazy, but I just don’t think there’s anything out there worth the months and months of payments and interest. I know I’m different. I set a budget. I stick to the budget. I put a great deal of thought into what I get my kids because I don’t want to get them something that will only get played with for a day or two. And I focus more on the thanks and the love and the family time.
And I’m happier. And the peace of the season actually rests on my house.