Thursday, December 6, 2012
Overconsumption...I'm not buying it
One year we all ONLY made gifts.... for everyone. That year was memorable, in that it almost put all of us over the edge, rushing to complete all of our projects. We learned how to etch glass, make liquor, collage, make gum-ball machines and more.
Then the kids came along, and we decided to skip the adult gifts and focus on the kids. Result: Overwhelmed kids who were over gifted.
Last year we scratched the rules, and everyone did what they wanted. I think it was a better balance.
I bought a beer making class for the guys, made some ornaments, and scheduled a spa trip for the girls. We asked everyone not to go overboard for the kids. It seemed to work.
This year, we didn't shop on Black Friday, or Cyber Monday at our house. In my opinion, the stores lure people in with irresistible offers, only to have very limited numbers of said sale items. The thought of leaving Thanksgiving to go camp out somewhere for a flat screen TV doesn't appeal to me. The race to spend as much money as you can, on stuff you really don't need completely negates spending a day together as a family being thankful for what we have.
Some people may say my thinking doesn't support our local economy. But I disagree. Buying imported stuff from big box stores does little to promote our local economy. I would much rather seek out interesting experiences, or handcraft something that I can give to my family. My daughter will be getting horseback riding lessons, and my son will be set up for archery class. Neither gift came across the seas in a box that will need to be recycled. Both gifts will support local businesses.
So my challenge to you, is before you buy another pair of crazy socks (or tie, or plastic toy, or scarf) the recipient will likely never wear, ask yourself do we really need this stuff? Maybe you can sit down and make something for them, or write them a heart-felt letter, poem or celebrate a memory.
People have been talking about overconsumption for years. And while I don't agree with all of the points in the video, I suggest you go check out The Story of Stuff.
What works for your family? I'd love to hear your ideas!