HOW TO CHANGE HOLIDAY GIFT-GIVING TRADITIONS.
(WITHOUT SEEMING UNGRATEFUL).
Having 'The Talk'.
How to tell Santa (or any enthusiastic gift-giver) you’re trying to cut the clutter this holiday can be a sensitive subject. here's how to tackle those conversations without losing your holiday spirit.
Generosity is good.
Generosity is one of the truly beautiful facets of the human spirit.
In fact, we may actually be wired to be overly generous as an evolutionary survival trait. So, asking the people who love us to stop buying us gifts can be a bit like asking a fish not to swim. But the holiday season is also the most wasteful time of the year, and for those of us who have spent all year being more mindful about each purchase we make it can be a time of major contradiction. So, how do you tell your family and friends you don’t want or need anything this Christmas?
Start the conversation early.
Talking about your new lifestyle over Thanksgiving dinner will plant the seed early that you might not be looking for a pile of shiny presents under the tree this year.
Don’t see your friends and family as often? Use social media to drop hints – share articles about the costs of hyper-consumption (try sharing this one as a SUPER subtle clue), post your own 15x30 Challenge video, and then use the comments section or real-life convos to explain why these changes are important to you. These ideas will start to worm their way into people’s perception of you so when it comes time to think of a present, they may already have a better idea of what you don’t want.
Make your list, check it twice…
People want to get you things you’ll love, and gift-giving can be an unnecessary stresser for many of us.
You used to write lists for Santa when you were a kid. It’s not that you didn’t trust him, you just wanted to help him out and make sure he didn’t get you the same My Little Pony you already had. Writing lists now is no different. People want to get you things you’ll love, and gift-giving can be an unnecessary stresser for many of us. You’ll be surprised how grateful people will be to get a clear list – and you’re giving them the gift of one less micro-decision clogging up their headspace! Making a list also ensures that you are supporting the types of businesses that are doing good, and introducing your friends and family to these options as well. Try checking out our list of conscious companies here.
Moments over mementos.
Research shows that spending more money on experiences instead of things makes you and our planet happier.
“Experience” gifts get a bad-rep (think of all those “one free foot rub” coupons that never get redeemed…), but research shows that spending more money on experiences instead of things makes you and our planet happier. Let your friends and family know that what you really want this Christmas is more time with them! It may feel cheesy, but trust us, these are the gifts you will remember. Think tickets to a favorite band or a new play or ski rentals and entrance fee to a state park. As gift-recipient, it will be your responsibility to follow up and make the plan and make sure it happens, and when you do, you’ll be amazed at how much warmer your January and February will feel as you cash in all of your gifts to spend more quality time with the people you love.
Go big or go home.
Conscious consuming doesn’t mean you’ll never need anything new ever again.
It means wading through all of the trinkets that take up physical and mental space in our everyday lives (So cute! Such a nice thought! But do you need them and will you use them?) and finding what truly matters. Is there one big, slightly more expensive item that you really do need/want this Christmas? A new winter coat that will last 10 years, rather than 10 new sweaters to fill your already-packed closet? Ask your family if they would consider going in together on that item.
Spread the cheer.
We all read about those wise-beyond-their-years, selfless kids who ask for donations to an animal shelter in lieu of birthday presents. Even if you weren’t quite there as a nine-year-old with a penchant for Tamagotchis, 2017 might be your year. Both you and the giver will feel good about making a real difference in the world, and you’ll be spreading the holiday cheer beyond your own four walls. Spend some time researching organizations that are important to you; your loved ones will still feel like they’re doing something for you if they can see how close the cause is to your heart.
Let it go.
Some of our moms and grandmas and even our besties are just not going to hear what you’re saying. If you’ve tried everything else, it may just be time to let it go, and let them buy you that new kitchen device from Bed, Bath and Beyond you definitely don’t need or have room for. In this instance, Marie Kondo would say that the joy of that gift was in the gift-giving moment. Once it’s graciously received by you, it’s your choice what to do with it. If this means returning it and buying those boring new sheets you actually need to replace your ratty ones, or donating it somewhere so it can bring someone else joy, that’s your choice.
Lead by example.
Take your own advice this year and change your holiday gift-giving habits.
When it comes down to it, you can only truly control your own actions and not those of others, so make those count. Take your own advice this year and change your holiday gift-giving habits. If you take the time and care to give your friends and family thoughtful gifts that don’t add more clutter to their lives, they may start to see the light themselves. Know that any sort of change takes time, and one that uproots holiday traditions may take even longer, so take a big swig of egg nog and be patient. Start some new traditions this year and see if they take root by the time your birthday rolls around (or maybe the birthday after that).
Here's to more moments and fewer mementos this holiday. Cheers!
Written By Natasha Brownlee.