So it has begun, the holiday season is upon us. The time when we start ramping up activities such as decorating, hosting or attending parties and of course shopping!
I feel fortunate to have grown up in a Jewish household where Christmas was not really a huge deal. Yet throughout my entire life, I still have felt the societal pressure to buy gifts for family, friends, neighbors, people in your life that offer you services. Don’t get me wrong, I love showing my love and gratitude to people in my life. I even enjoy buying gifts, trying to find that special something that I think someone would enjoy or would serve their life. However, what I have observed over the years is that most Americans stress themselves and their finances buying a plethora of gifts for each individual.
Christmas morning families are captivated with the ritual of either carefully un-folding and trying to guess what’s inside the colorful package, or ripping it open as quick as possible. Either style, when all the hopla is over and the kids are happily playing with their new toys and everyones’ enjoying good food & good cheer it doesn’t take long for us to move on. Where I’m going with this is; what happens the next day, week, month?…slowly we’ve already forgotten about our new gifts. It gets piled in the corner with the other stuff, accidentally getting kicked under the bed never to be found again until you move, or simply left to collect dust. Yes, this may be a vast generalization, but as a professional organizer and keen observer most of us (yes, including me) have way too much stuff!!
Stuff, you know things… objects created from precious resources (fossils fuels, trees, water, etc) maybe by someone that worked long hours on an assembly line in poor conditions. Stuff that we likely don’t need. Stuff that we think is going to make us happy and may for a few moments until we get distracted by the next thing. Okay, that’s enough “berating” as my husband would say. My point is not to try to make us feel bad. Hey most of us grew up here in this capitalistic society, being bombarded with commercials to buy, buy, buy. So I don’t want to be a downer or buzz-killer for your holiday cheer.
Would I prefer is to inspire your creativity and sensitivity this holiday season. What if we each reflected upon our habits both personally as well as a society. Does our chronic shopping patterns serve the highest good for all of us here on Mother Earth? Is there a more holistic way to celebrate the holidays? Certainly this is not a new trend. For years, people have been choosing a charity to donate to, or collect coats & books for a drive, feed homeless people. I love this trend towards kind acts rather than blind consumerism. After all, the stuff that was once a thoughtful, shiny new gift will eventually become trash. Most objects once they are no longer useful or wanted will go to the landfill. Remember people, there is no “Away”. And for those on the other earth friendly trend of making your holiday gifts, like hand-made soaps & bath salts, etc… things that use less resources, will be useful and can be re-used over and over again, I say bravo! Keep that up! Maybe host a DIY party and invite your friends over to learn how you do that. For those whom just can’t give up the shopping ritual, please consider only buying one special something for each of your loved ones rather than dozens. Please consider what and where you make your purchases. Shop local and from stores that source products that have been ethically produced and perhaps from populations that are creating stuff for their survival, rather than lining the coat pockets of multi-billion dollar corporations.
Blessings for a Joyful holiday season~