Creating more with less money for the Holidays

 

 

Alexandra is in town for a few weeks and we are showing her all the cliches that America has to offer. One thing she wanted to experience is an Outlet Mall. An Outlet Mall is where manufacturers (mostly clothing) sell their products at a reduced price. Honestly, she was far more impressed with America’s customer service than the prices at the Outlets. When a sales person offered to take my clothes and open a dressing room for me (standard practice) Alexandra’s jaw literally almost hit the floor. We ended our day skipping and dancing back to the car completely jazzed about all the great deals we got! This burst of post consumer happiness got me thinking though . . .

We are all consumers. We like to acquire and consume goods. Why? because it makes us feel good! Duh. But why does it make us feel good? It gives us something wonderful called a dopamine dump. What is Dopamine? It’s your brains ‘reward juice’. When you score a sweet deal shopping it feels good so your brain releases ‘reward juice’ into our bodies and suddenly we fall into a never ending formula of  Work Hard >Get Paid>- Buy Stuff>Feel Good>Repeat. Dopamine also rushes in with exercise, a diet high in antioxidants and lots of sleep.

From our extensive travels I am always asked the exact same 3 questions on repeat

  1. What was my favorite place?
  2. What’s it like being back home?
  3. What souvenirs did I buy?

 

We made a very intentional effort to not buy and consume a lot of items while traveling. We each had our single suitcase that couldn’t exceed 20 Kilos and that was it. With limited space we had to be very intentional about anything we purchased. If I wanted something I had to be very clear on my why. I feel like this minimal purcahse practice has carried over into life at home too. While shopping with Alexandra I saw the start of the holidays on display and now I’m puzzling

 

How can I make the holidays EASY and memorable with less consumption

 

I normally justify purchases by “what a good deal I get on them.” Now I find myself asking is this item going to broaden my child’s view of what is true, good, and beautiful? Will it lead them to an appreciation of God’s world? Will it help them create, or will it drive them toward more consumption?

With Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Kwanza, and Christmas coming up what traditions can I create that don’t involve merchandise? I believe you can buy happiness . . . in experiences, fundraising, or learning a new skill and I’m wanting to tap into other meaningful ways. How do you create more meaning with less money for the Holidays?

 

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6 Comments
  • Susan K. Verwys
    Posted at 00:41h, 26 October Reply

    When our children were small, we loved having child-centered devotions with an advent wreath. They loved lighting an additional candle each Sunday of Advent. Afterwards, we would sit in front of the fireplace, with only candles lit, drinking hot chocolate and eating fudge!! Dopamine overload!!

    There has been a lot of dissension and drama in our broader family systems, so we are very careful who we spend holidays with now. Our children are grown and none of us like the drama some people enjoy. We are building new traditions. We love the sacred part of Christmas. I have also introduced humor into the holiday. I spend the whole year looking for funny gifts to wrap or to put in their stockings. I look in thrift shops and gift shops. I giggle all year long and our family room erupts with laughter and love before we share a wonderful brunch together.

  • Olga pekalska
    Posted at 01:16h, 26 October Reply

    I wholeheartedly agree. I used to be all about buying more gifts and souvenirs for everyone. Now I buy minimal and save for experiences, travel to make new memories and help others in various ways. For example I flew to New Brunswick for the past weekend to spend time for a friend’s birthday. Another friend and I help out a soup kitchen over the holidays a few days Cooking and serving meals to give back and we spend this time together instead of exchanging gifts.
    Last year thanks to you guys, my class and I put together a box of supplies for the school in Fiji instead of exchanging Valentine’s Day stuff in class.
    I’m all about paying it forward.
    Thanks for all you guys do to inspire!! 💗😘💖

  • Loralie shupe latour
    Posted at 01:16h, 26 October Reply

    Very timely post. My husband and I are in the midst of our budgeting and planning for meaningful gifts/experiences for our neices and nephews

  • Mariam Suliman
    Posted at 01:17h, 26 October Reply

    Honestly I’m not a shopper so for me it boils down to two things: Do I need it ?
    and
    Will it be used ?
    If I answer “no” to any of these then I don’t buy it.

  • Gabriela maria
    Posted at 01:18h, 26 October Reply

    Enjoy you’re time together, and the shopping!!!!! 🙌🏽

  • Sandie Tillotson
    Posted at 00:23h, 01 November Reply

    My Christmas gift to the family will be a vacation together – all 22 of sharing quarters for 10 days – I like to give the gifts of adventure and experience and family togetherness. #motivatedbylove

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