Don’t let the culture of overconsumption tell you what you need to buy in order to have the perfect Christmas. This year, follow these tips to break free and discover what means the most to you
A fresh set of winter-themed bedding, a complete redesign of the Christmas tree ornaments, the latest matching pyjamas for the whole family, new crockery, fast festive food, lights, even more lights, and more presents than can fit under the tree – this time of year can be, well, a lot.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with finding joy in many of these things. Christmas can feel like a magical time and a great reason to be a bit more whimsical than we are the rest of the year. But overconsumption is a big problem – not just for our purses, but for the planet and also for our wellbeing as we struggling to keep up.
So, this year, take a stand against overconsumption, 'deinfluence' yourself, and create a meaningful Christmas with these tips.
Ask yourself, are you going to reuse it?
Trends come and go, but many of the materials found in common festive items will last a lifetime. Be wary of getting sucked into trends that won’t be around this time next year – this year’s ‘must-have items’ are potentially next year’s unwanted clutter.
When you’re considering purchasing something, consider whether this will be the case for you, or whether you can foresee yourself enjoying it for many years to come. Consider the materials – are they sturdy enough to be rescued, will they stand the test of time? With that in mind, invest your hard-earned cash only into things that you can see bringing you joy for the foreseeable future.
Learn to spot when you’re being advertised to
In this age of social media, it’s not always easy to tell whether you’re being advertised to – and because of that, you may find yourself following what you think is a genuine recommendation when there’s actually more important context around the content.
There are strict rules in place for influencers promoting products on their accounts. They should use a CAP Code, which is an appropriate label for an advert – examples may include ‘Ad’, ‘advert, ‘ad feature’, ‘paid partnership’, ‘gifted’, ‘sponsored’, ‘in association with’, and more.
Now, just because something is an advert, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a bad product – but you should be wary of advertising that makes you feel as though you would be missing out if you didn’t make a purchase, or that makes big promises it’s unlikely to deliver on.
Find joy in crafting and homemade alternatives
Think back to your childhood, when school days became centred around arts and crafts. This is the perfect time to bring that energy back to life. Homemade alternatives give you the opportunity to be really conscious about the materials you use.
You may, for example, make a beautiful dried orange-slice garland to hang in your home. You could create a beautifully scented festive potpourri using more dried oranges, cinnamon sticks, and star anise. Or you could go foraging for foliage to make garlands and wall decorations (just make sure you are aware of the laws around foraging, and do not take more than you need).
The other side to homemade alternatives is that you get to reap the rewards of spending time working on something – providing a mindful respite from everything else that’s happening over the season.
As you might expect, there tends to be a huge amount of unwanted Christmas items up for grabs each year, and people clear out the things that they no longer need. Choosing these items instead of buying new ones is a good place to start, and you will be able to find plenty of options on second-hand selling sites such as eBay, Vinted, and Gumtree.
Charity shops are, of course, another great option. And not just for decorations and homeware, but for presents, too. Read our ultimate guide to charity shopping.
The thing with shopping second-hand is that, not only are you making environmentally conscious decisions, you’re also more likely to find unique pieces that express who you really are – not whatever’s in trend at the moment.
Let go of comparison
Christmas can sometimes be a difficult and overwhelming time, and this is where comparison can creep in. We might see snippets of other people’s lives, where they seem to have the perfect Christmas all lined up. Their homes look perfect and pristine – the dream Christmas. Ultimately, this may not be the full picture – and, even if it is, it doesn’t mean that your ‘perfect’ Christmas needs to look this way, too.
Take some time to consider what you want from this time of year. Perhaps it’s time with loved ones, or quiet reflection. Perhaps you want to hone your hobbies, catch up on reading, or get creative in the kitchen. Maybe you would prefer to volunteer, and make a difference in other people’s lives.
The culture of overconsumption tells us we need more and more, and sells the idea that happiness can be found in… stuff. This year, take some time to consider how much of a hold those ideas have on your life – this could be the time to push back.