Christmas Consumerism, when is it too much?
Endless shopping list in crowded places, I suppose that this is now truly the Christmas spirit. And this is the part I dislike the most. The consumerism. Most of my friends are complaining already about December being incredibly expensive. Some of them are dipping into their savings (at least not into debt…) to be able to pay for the whole 'thing'. And I find it insane.
Why on earth should someone diminish their own income beyond financial viability to be able to participate in this consumer train-wreck? Why? Have we suddenly all decided we need or want a whole bunch of stuff? Because economically, that doesn’t make too much sense.
Especially not as a lot of prices suffer a “Christmas mark-up.” Yes, you thought you bought things in a Christmas sale, but you might have been tricked. Because we all know things just tend to get a bit more expensive as the holidays come up, and that the real sale only starts after Christmas, when stores really need to get rid of the unsold stock.
But in general, what about Christmas (a religious holiday about the birth of Christ) screams buying gifts? We know a lot of people are struggling to make ends meet, so what exactly are they supposed to do? We know about the unequal division of wealth when it comes to our own countries, some being worse than others.
For parents, it’s even worse. Kids go back to school comparing gifts, we know this is what happens, it’s social comparison. But there is only one winner there: the kid who got the most gifts, so unless you’re the parent that gave the most and best gifts, you’re not winning regardless.
If you derive great pleasure out of all these festivities, you do you. I’m not a Grinch, I won’t tell you you’re a bad person for enjoying it. And to be honest, I LOVE this time of the year too. But make sure the rest of the family is also having a great time. Because if they are bending over backward to take time off, engage inexpensive travel and buy you even more expensive things whilst not being in the position to do so, what exactly are we celebrating?
And there are many alternative ways of celebrating Christmas to begin with. You can do Secret Santa, which tends to be just getting a small gift for someone, we do this every year with extended family and friends and save us all a ton of money as we put a limit value.
You can celebrate through hosting a Bring a Plate Dinner, where everyone contributes by making a dish. You’ll have much less food waste and it’s so much more creative. And if you don’t think you’ll have the time on the 25th of December, well, then just make sure you can all make it a bit before or after Christmas, if you really want to celebrate.
After all, this holiday is meant to bring joy, not more stress. Sometimes less is more, and a home-made meaningful gift can be much more appreciated than something bought at the shop.