Year end beckons and the festive season kicks off properly from today. That is always how it seems to me. From the first of December the hustle and bustle steps up a few notches. But did it seem that November was especially frenetic to you? The month end chase for discount deals was crazy. Apparently it was chaos at some stores and people fought for their discount goods. There must be a simpler way to end the year.
Here are a few thoughts on this topic and how my my family have agreed to do something about the materialism issue.
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Materialism Reality Check
Gift giving is out of control it seems. It is easy to see why since we are surrounded by advertising calling on us to buy more stuff. The suggestion is that it is stuff that will make our family and friends happier. You want to see them happy don't you? Sure - so buy them more and more exotic foods and gifts that are overpriced.
The result is a hefty credit card debt in January and few extra pounds around the waistline. This causes all sorts of problems both financially and to your health. But especially the financial burden of this season often lasts for months into the New Year. Does that sound rational? There must be a better way.
The rule we have come up with is that the adults cannot buy a gift for another adult. It has to be made and simply at that. We have had this running for a few years and it works a treat. Before that we tried the budget setting idea. This involves setting a low budget for a purchased item. But this created problems.
First off you still had to go out shopping. A beastly business in the city!
Secondly the small budget during a time of overpriced tat means that you can literally only buy rubbish. Not only is the gift a big disappointment, but it breaks into smaller bits of rubbish no sooner than it is unwrapped. This makes everyone annoyed.
The cure for this is to make something. Nobody is entirely incapable of putting something together with a little bit of thought. This idea has worked and makes everyone happier. Honestly the saving in expense is immense. Plus we "wrap" the presents in reusable gift bags. You keep the bag and use it to give your gift in the next year. How clever is that?
Of course the kids get bought stuff too. No matter how hard I try I cannot make anything that interests a teenager. But with the money saved this is now more reasonable.
Try to think of ways to simplify anything and everything. Use lists when shopping. Even a little pop-in-to-the-hardware-store can turn into a ruinous expedition if you do not have a list. Suddenly you forget that you only wanted sandpaper and come out of the shop with a new orbital sander that was on sale.
Lists also save time. Our most precious resource. Keep track of the time spent shopping. Often two hours fly by before you know it. Two hours!
And cut out the aimless driving. How much time and money is wasted on detours and driving around while you try to remember what it is you went out for in the first place? Lists are wonderful.
Instead of paying out your hard earned cash how about paying attention to those people who appreciate you? Your family, friends and even your pets. Give them your undivided attention and they will love you for it. Plus it is free.
How about giving yourself some attention too. Be kind to yourself. Indulge in some quality time like watching a movie YOU want to watch. Or take a nap when you want one. Pause, unwind and breathe. It is important that you do this.
Be Active and Creative
Most of the suggestions above involve some creativity. If you have a few days off this month try something creative that you have been considering. Maybe a new project like painting, sewing or baking. Or in the garden. Instead of just chores find a little project to improve your enjoyment of the garden. Provided it does not entail a lot of spending. The main idea is to engage mind and body in doing something. We spend so much time passively sitting. So the idea is to get moving too.
A few simple changes like these are not difficult to implement. So before things get out of control call a family meeting and find a few ways to curb the crazy stuff. What do you have to lose?
My Wish to You
Have a safe and happy holiday season. More special moments and peace of mind. Finally I want to thank you for stopping by on this blog. I do appreciate this very much. I hope to keep you inspired in 2018 with new creative projects. Until then take care.
PS: The link to Shawn Jame's YouTube channel mentioned in the podcast.
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