Christmas Non-Consumerism

Christmas is coming. For many people who are trying to practice de-growth and disengage from the consumer treadmill (and free themselves from having their houses and garages jampacked to the rafters with unused stuff), gift-giving holidays can bring anxiety.

For those whose families are big into gift-giving, a short note might help. Or it might not! But if you feel strongly about this, you could try writing a short note. I wrote this as a possible example after someone in one of my groups was looking for guidance on how to convey to her relatives that she and her husband don’t want holiday gifts:

Dear Family: Christmas time is approaching. For many reasons, we are no longer celebrating the gift-giving aspect of Christmas. For those of you living nearby, we hope we will get to spend time together with you, simply enjoying each other’s company. We’d love to have you over for coffee, drinks or a meal. We could play some cards, play board games, tell stories, or do a puzzle together. For those more geographically distant, let’s enjoy each other’s company in a similar manner by Zoom.

(Some people may still end up giving you stuff — but you have made your wishes clear. Just quietly give the items away, and take joy in knowing that someone who really needs them will use and appreciate them.)

Have you succeeded in conveying to family or friends that you don’t want material gifts? Have you been able to do it without hurting your loved ones’ feelings? And do they abide by your wishes? If so, please help others who are on the same path by sharing what you said/did that worked!