How can we avoid the feeling of guilt and duty to spend money on everyone we’ve ever met at Christmas? Does festive gift-giving have to be so excessive? Can you buy Christmas presents without contributing to the planet’s ever-growing environmental overwhelm?
Whilst the festive season means something different to each of us, one thing we do have in common this time of year is the overwhelming pressure to spend money (and emotional vulnerability thanks to the John Lewis advert). Commercialism is kicked up a notch, and everywhere you turn there are adverts telling us why buying our Christmas pudding from that shop will heal every family feud from the last twenty years.
I absolutely adore giving presents to people, but I do find that the sheer intensity of Christmas ‘sales’ and ‘deals’ is really tricky to navigate when it comes to holding back on generosity. It feels like, for every product I see advertised, I know someone who would love it, and the next time I see them I’ll feel a shred of regret or guilt that I didn’t buy that product I knew would make them smile. I’m sure you’ve felt the same.
I’m writing this post a guide and reminder to shop mindfully this Christmas.
Why should I shop mindfully?
The thing about Christmas shopping excessively is that, not only does it negatively impact our planet, it also doesn’t do much for the ol’ bank account. According to statistics, last year the average family in Britain spent over £800 to celebrate the festive season, and over 50% of gifts given were clothing. I wonder what percentage of people who received those clothes actually liked the pieces and currently have them in their wardrobe, less than a year later. Whether they’ve been donated to charity or chucked in a landfill, it’s a pretty scary thought (I recently wrote a post about fast fashion which you can check out here).
How can I shop mindfully?
Pick up a Christmas jumper unlike any other at your local vintage store instead of heading to a mass-produced brand that’ll have you seeing double every time you go out wearing yours.
Support independent artists and makers. Not only will the product be made with love, but you’ll be making the creator’s day as well as your friend/family member’s day.
If you don’t have the time or desire to purchase from independent makers and ethical brands, one way you can avoid the waste production this Christmas is to give friends and family gift vouchers for their favourite stores – this way they’ll still be loving what they got for Christmas from you this time next year, they’ll get something they really love, and they’ll cherish it because it’s from you.
Where can I shop mindfully?
A London-based company producing gorgeous environmentally-friendly wrapping paper made from recycled materials.
Shop second hand/vintage.