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14 Ways to Combat Consumerism This Christmas

Jamie Cearley, PhDCearley_Christmas

Christmas has become the flagship of consumerism, like it or not. For those of us striving to live a simple rich life this reality has turned Christmas into somewhat of a struggle. We cling to those aspects of Christmas we find endearing, heartwarming, cheerful, and full of meaning. Yet, if we dare to tread off the farm the world bombards us with marketing and the pressure to buy stuff.

Cause this Christmas to be more about presence than presents.

Make use of these 14 ways to combat consumerism:

1. Throw a party. Take the money you saved not buying presents and have a party instead!
2. Buy a plane ticket to be with family or friends. Go yourself or bring them to you. Why mess with mailing gifts for someone to open in your absence? It would be so much more meaningful to have you present to share some hot cocoa and talk for a while.
3. Pick up the phone. If you can’t afford to be there in person give an old friend a call catch up on the times.
4. Take a drive to visit a friend. Pack up the family and go for a day trip, over the river and through the woods.
5. Visit a nursing home or hospital. There is no more sure fire way to make someone’s holiday than this one.
6. Turn off the TV for a week. Doing this will help you see the reality that watching a movie or television program together is not togetherness at all.
7. Put away your phones, tablets, headphones. Disconnect from electronics to connect with each other.
8. Take some vacation days from work. Christmas is a great time to take off from work as the workload is often slower anyway.
9. Engage in a meaningful conversation with someone much older or younger than yourself. This experience yields great wisdom.
10. Play again. Engage in a simple game of tag, hide and seek, or catch with a child.
11. Make something from scratch together. This could be anything from constructing a blanket fort, to baking some cookies, to building a fire.
12. Go for a walk with a friend or family member. Talk along the way about the things you see, hear, and smell. Share the memories they conjure up.
13. Eat a meal together at the table. Again, no electronics at the table, no TV blaring in the background, no distractions allowed. Just eat and talk.
14. Make a video and send it to someone who couldn’t be present. Here is a reprieve to playing with your electronics. Use the video to engage them in your activities and make them feel as though they are there.

Taking some or all these actions is sure to be a win for 2015. Most of them cost little to nothing, yet bring huge rewards. Best of all, when 2016 comes you won’t have to worry with credit card bills, or where to store all the stuff you did not buy!

Make memories this year, not anxiety.

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