Holiday gifts, black Friday, cyber Monday, feasts….it’s the time of year when consumption of all kinds is easy to partake in, often in excess. It’s a time when budgets can be blown and organizational systems can be tested to the max. Of course it’s fine to live a little, yet it’s also helpful to do so while remaining mindful of our consumption and how to keep it simple.
We are barraged particularly hard this time of year. The lure of a sale, the negativity of politics and divisiveness, the mindless habitual act of picking up a screen to zone out, numb, or distract…none of this is particularly healthy. It may be a good time to put in place some parameters. For example, keeping the phone in the kitchen after 9pm. Or, putting it away when you’re with the kids after school. It’s not for the purpose of enforcing a “rule” on a grown human (yourself). It’s to alter a habit by removing the physical trigger. Try it and see what you discover.
I highly recommend the film The Social Dilemma, which explores the consequences of our growing dependence on social media. It’s good food for thought.
You can also simplify by reducing your choices. Go through your apps to delete what you no longer use or need.
There are so many fantastic local businesses to support, many of whom may be struggling during the pandemic. It’s all too easy to press a couple buttons on amazon and have something delivered the next day. And, I do my fair share, for sure. But, it’s also great to discover and support local by purchasing a gift or a gift card.
Gifting With Intention
Experience gifts are great! Or, keep it simple with a theme for your family, such as homemade gifts or games or books. Other ideas to simplify include drawing names or agreeing on a monetary limit for your purchases.
It’s all too easy to let gifting for the kids get crazy. Sometimes we, as parents/adults, need to reconcile in our own heads that less is ok, and that we don’t need to worry or feel guilty about disappointing little Sally by not buying everything on her list. A hope of getting all the things does not need to be indulged. You’re the parent and get to decide. What is memorable and meaningful in the long term? Memories are not typically created by playing with plastic stuff. Let intentionality and the true spirit of giving/gifting guide you.
It’s worth mentioning that I don’t write content driven posts such as this because I’m an expert or have mastered these things. I write them because they’re things I think about, or struggle with, and assume others may be as well. And, to encourage independent thought and action. It’s ok to be different, to be “the only” family that operates the way that feels right to you, without giving into group think mentality or “everybody has this app or plays this game or buys this phone”. I doubt that any of us will ever regret not buying that thing or putting our phones down and being present. It’s an invitation….for intentionality and presence over presents.