The Holidays and Mindful Consumerism

The holidays should not be about indulgent consumerism.

If you ask someone what the holidays are all about, you hear words like “family”, “friends”, “loved ones”, “gathering” and “sharing”. But if you watch people’s actions, you often see something very different… you see people clamoring for Black Friday “bargains”, credit card balances skyrocketing, and a lot of people buying a lot of stuff.

Our actions don’t match our intentions.

The holidays should actually be about family, friends and spending time with our loved ones. It should not be a consumer free-for-all.

Chances are, you’ll be bored with all the stuff you bought in a few weeks or months anyway. All you will have left is a giant credit card bill.

Stuff does not produce happiness. Happiness is achieved by cultivating gratitude.

Instead of buying more shit and going into debt and being miserable, why not pause and consider what you already have and be grateful for it… regardless of your socio-economic circumstances.

One possible option: Make it a daily habit to meditate for just 3 minutes about what you have to be thankful for. Doing this one simple act can change your life.

You can be grateful for the big things in life, but it could also be the smallest things. For example, the water was being shut off this morning in our building complex so a neighbor could repair plumbing. As I filled a jug of water for drinking, I thought about how I was thankful to have access to clean, drinkable water, right in my own home, at the tap of a button, anytime I want, any amount [virtually] I want! That fact was not true for 99.9% of human history. Even today, according to a 2017 update to the Joint Monitoring Programme of the World Health Organisation and UNICEF, 10% of the world’s current population do not have access to clean water.

I have committed myself to buying exactly nothing for the holidays. Zero. No gifts. No presents. No cards. I will spend time with my friends and family and be grateful for what I already have. I admit, it’s relatively easy for me since my kids are all now young adults, but anyone can do this.

If you see value in it. I invite you to challenge yourself. It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Do something… anything… on your terms. See how it feels. I guarantee it will feel good. Then keep going.


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