ReThink: Holiday Shopping // PART I

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I can’t believe it’s that time of year already but we need to talk about holiday shopping.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet because I don’t think anyone needs a lecture on this topic.  It’s pretty simple.  We need to re-think the holidays.  Maybe even re-structure our value system… Dig deep below the surface and take a chisel to the cold hardened shells of consumerism that have developed over our Grinchy hearts over the years.

We all say the holidays are about family, creating memories, love, joy and peace and all the things money can’t buy.  But do we actually believe that?  Moreover, do we LIVE it?  Most of us *somewhat* live it.   We spend time with our families and create memories and share all the feels.  But we can’t escape the feeling that it’s not really holiday season without the gifts.  So we buy and wrap, buy and wrap.  Rinse and repeat.  By the New Year,  we’re exhausted and broke.

Here’s something directly from the National Retail Federation’s website:

“NRF’s latest survey finds that holiday shoppers plan to spend an average $463 on family members, up from $458 last year and the highest in survey history… 

Americans plan to do almost half of their holiday shopping online this year, and one in five of those who own smartphones will use them to purchase holiday merchandise, the highest since NRF first asked in 2011.”

Online shopping has made life so much easier.  With a click of the mouse, I can order ANYTHING I need and have it shipped to my door within a couple of days.  AMAZING.  I love it, especially now that I’m a mom.  BUT (!!!) online shopping has also created monsters out of some of us, myself included.  The temptation to make mindless purchases is greater than it has ever been, and most of us don’t really fight it.  Clickity click.  Yay, more stuff!

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again.  I’m not against buying stuff and I’m not against giving gifts.  (In fact, I really love to give gifts!)  I just think we need to tone the shopping down.  WAY WAY down.   I’m so tired of hearing stories about people hurting each other in the aisles of stores, all because we NEED to buy that precious (whatever it is).  Ridiculous.  Shameful.  This is the world we live in, the world we’ve created for our children.  Let that sink in.

I read this week that REI will be closing all of its 143 stores nationwide on Black Friday, and paying their employees to spend that day outside.  Their website won’t even be open for business.  This kind of move is unheard of in the retail world.  Closed on Black Friday??  As I read the article, my heart filled up with emotion and I thought I might cry.  It was a refreshing breathe of hope to say the least.   Since REI made their announcement, a few other retailers have joined their #OptOutside campaign, and it just makes me so happy.  It makes me feel like our society has a fighting chance in getting back to what matters.

On that note… Here is your formal invitation to join me in rethinking holiday shopping.  Let’s be smarter about it.  Let’s spend more time, and less money.  Be more thoughtful, and less impulsive.   Let’s reclaim what it means to truly celebrate the holidays.

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