How to Celebrate the Holidays Without Materialism

Reader Contribution by Holly Welles
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year in a multitude of ways — namely, we spend time with loved ones to celebrate the holidays. However, not everything that glitters is gold, especially this time of year. You may feel yourself growing weary of the materialism that comes with the holidays. It may seem impossible to side-step the gift-centric focus that this season brings.

Fortunately, though, you can celebrate the holidays without it being too materialistic. You’ll soon find out that the holiday season will be just as memorable regardless of how much you spend. Here are six ideas for festiveness without all the fuss:

1. Set a Spending Limit

It’s easy to let your budget get away from you when Christmas rolls around, and spending too much is one way the season can become materialistic. So, start this holiday season by setting a strict limit to your spending and sticking to it. This step stands as one of the best ways to budget your seasonal spending.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Plus, by the time the holidays end, you will feel proud of yourself for spending a reasonable amount. Otherwise, you might feel disappointed in yourself for over-spending and giving into the materialism that comes with this time of year.

2. Personalize Presents

You could pay a lot for a pile of Christmas gifts that’ll fade from memory in a few months. Or, you could make a point to personalize everyone’s gifts and make them special enough to be remembered forever.

You might consider hand-making gifts for everyone on your list and asking them to do the same. Other families have done Secret Santa-style gift picking, where everyone buys a present for only one person in the family. Rather than wrapping them up and handing them over, though, you can make things even more individualized.

Leave the presents unwrapped and have the person guess which one’s for them. It should be obvious if you choose presents based on the recipient’s personality. Families who have done this kind of exchange have said it’s an unforgettable way to celebrate the holidays — no over-spending required.

3. Say Thanks

Everyone gathers for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Day. Before you share a meal, make a point to go around the table and share your thanks for the holiday season that’s about to begin or that has just transpired.

What makes you feel grateful? Remembering such sentiments will refocus everyone. These feelings are what the holidays are all about, and you should never forget them.

4. Give to Those in Need

Giving gifts to others always makes us feel good. You can amplify those sentiments by giving to those in need this holiday season. You have a slew of opportunities to donate to others during the holidays. For instance, you might adopt a child in need and buy them must-haves as well as what they want for Christmas. Or, you could volunteer at a homeless shelter to prepare a holiday meal for those who don’t have their own place to celebrate.

Your family can become involved in your charitable efforts, too. Just as you can adopt and shop for a child in need, you can choose to help fund another family’s holiday gifts or meal. Bring your brood along to shop so they can get involved in giving during the season, too.

Depending on your children’s ages, they might also be able to volunteer with you at holiday-centric events, too. Regardless of how they participate, they’ll remember giving back and how good it makes them feel. It could become a tradition for all of you in the future.

5. Gift Experiences Instead

We’ve already touched on personalized presents. You might also consider skipping traditional presents in favor of gifted experiences instead. For instance, rather than buying your children a pile of plastic toys, plan a trip for the family to go to the zoo.

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

You can hand over these types of experiential presents to everyone on your list. Even something as simple as a coffee shop gift card — and the promise of a coffee date — can make a great gift for a colleague or friend.

6. Partake in Free Holiday Activities

Even holiday activities can be a bit materialistic. So, find things for your family to do that don’t cost any money. In wintertime, you’ll have no trouble if you live somewhere that gets nice and snowy. Playing outside, building a snowman, constructing a fort… you can make holiday memories without spending a penny.

Of course, you can still have fun outside without snow. Take a walk to check out the changing leaves before it gets too cold. You might also hike through a local park or green space to check out the winter landscape and wildlife. No money’s required to enjoy all that the season has to offer.

Holiday Ideas for Minimal Lifestyles

You don’t have to overspend to enjoy the holidays. Instead, you can shift your focus from materialism to moments. With that, you’re sure to find that you’re enjoying the season more than ever before. In the end, that’s what the holidays should be.

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