Let’s cancel Christmas – consumer-free holidays

By Kate | Women
Posted Dec 14, 2011

For the past few years I’ve been living in Tokyo, where Christmas means twinkling lights,  pretty decorations, and  ‘Couple’s Day’ (similar to Valentine’s Day, couples spend the evening together and give each other small gifts). So I’m a little out of practice of this holiday consumerism and I blame that on the lack of interest I’ve had to put together a ‘gift-guide’.

Then today I saw a woman cry at a retail counter; she was with her child, they were trying to buy a ‘teacher gift’ and her credit card was declined. As I watched her breakdown, I realized the true reason why I wasn’t working on that gift-guide. That woman isn’t the only one struggling. It’s been a hard year and many people I know are struggling. And the holidays, with their focus on consumerism, add extra stress and more overextending.

There’s a great article in today’s Daily Mail titled “The best thing my mum ever did was cancel Christmas” that supports my idea; let’s just cancel Christmas. Well, not really. But when one in three Britons are predicted to go into debt to pay for Christmas this year, let’s step away from consumerism and gift those we love what they need most; some help. Or some of our time. Or some new, happy, memory-making moments.

This year, my mom is getting an afternoon at the Art Gallery (mother-daughter time) and my god-daughter; a cooking lesson. A friend and I are doing an ‘energy exchange’; I’m giving some marketing advice and getting a massage in return. And for my true love – breakfast in bed!

You can do it too: cook a dinner for a friend too busy to make home-cooked meals, take the friend who always wants to get healthy to your yoga class, play games with the children in your life. Go consumer-free for the holidays. Give the gift of time and the generosity of thoughtfulness instead. It may be hard the first year, but it will get easier, less stressful and more joyous as time goes on.

Note: Magnifeco.com posts daily eco-finds because, while I wish that people would stop buying presents they can’t afford and setting up an obligation for others to do the same (DailyMail article), small businesses and fairtrade entrepreneurs still need your support.

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