An Anti-Consumerist Guide to Christmas

Christmas is synonymous with the warmth of family, bauble-adorned spruce trees, and neatly wrapped presents. Unfortunately, the latter often becomes the only defining feature of this holiday. We’ve all rushed to the mall to pick up some last minute gifts, feeling an immense pressure to conform to the tradition of gift-giving. This is not the first time that consumerism has engulfed our holiday rituals. Think Halloween, Thanksgiving, and of course, Black Friday. But, the good news is you can do your part to contribute to an anti-consumerist Christmas. Here’s a list of ways to show appreciation for your closest friends, family, and even yourself!

1. Make a gift

The best way to avoid waiting in line to pay for an overpriced gift is to make one yourself! There are thousands of tutorials online for creative crafts that will make your best friend feel special and value your thought and consideration. How about a painting on canvas, a DIY picture frame, or even a sugar scrub? You might need to buy some of these materials, but sometimes they’re already in our homes or very affordable elsewhere. These purchases won’t contribute as much to the consumerist frenzy that emerges around the holiday season.

2. Bake a gift

Who doesn't love warm cookies or rich red velvet cupcakes? Food is the way to many parents’ hearts; it’s not easy to forget your kids’ cooking (whether good or bad!). Even if you were to bake for your friends, they would be eternally grateful. Homemade cheesecake for stressed and struggling college students? It may just be the best gift yet!

3. Curate a playlist

A personalized mix will be a present that can be used whenever, wherever. Listening to the right song at the right time is sometimes all it takes to brighten someone’s day. Playing old favorites not only reminds me of fond memories, but also serves as the best company on long commutes. You can’t go wrong with a carefully crafted playlist!

4. Give to charity

Donating to a cause you care about can be a present you give to yourself and someone who really needs it. Facebook has made it easier to fundraise, and there’s always the option of sharing crowdfunding projects as well. Sometimes signing a petition can also be a way to meaningfully contribute to your community. Such an act will make Christmas memorable for you and others.

5. Volunteer

On the same wavelength as donating to a charity, volunteering can also be a special way to feel closer to your community and to spend time with your loved ones. It can even become a weekly activity as the new year approaches and you aim to give back more. Volunteering at a local shelter, non-profit, or school can be immensely rewarding, so why not do this with your friends instead of buying them a present?

We hope this guide inspires you to be creative with your gift giving this season. Happy holidays!

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