My life, designed by me.
Article first published as Keeping Christmas Authentic – Dollars & Sense this Christmas on Technorati.
Robyn O’Bryant’s experience with the frenzied commercialism of Black Friday was a timely reminder of the pressure I am feeling with Christmas fast approaching. I have been reflecting on Christmas over the past week, and feeling immense pressure to buy the perfect gift for everyone, to stretch the budget to breaking point to provide an abundance of gifts for family and friends.
Bombarded with sales, discounts, emails offering free shipping and a zillion percent off, and the frenzied, crowded activity of Christmas shopping, my stress levels soar within a very short period of time. I feel like a slave to the commercialism of the season and, caught up in the mob mentality of Christmas shopping, I frequently over spend.
I am ashamed to admit but our Christmases have always been about stuff. We make sure we catch up with family and spend time together but the presents are the focal point of the day. I feel coerced into spending more than I can afford to ensure my children receive as much stuff as their friends and that my gifts to other family members are extravagant and memorable.
This year I intend to break this pattern that I have created by showing my family that we are celebrating how lucky we are to have each other and our health and what we can do for each other, and that our true value lies in who we are, not the gifts we give people nor the amount of gifts we receive.
I am not going to allow other people to dictate how much money I spend on them. As children we are taught that it is the thought that counts, but now it seems that so many people quantify that adage with a dollar amount. I am not going to try and make the pile under the tree look ‘better’ by buying our kids lots of ‘stuff’. I am not going to be pressured by the sales and emails that tempt me with free shipping and huge discounts. I am going to look around and embrace and share the abundance I already have instead of buying more stuff and subscribing to the notion that it will make Christmas more fulfilling.
My gifts are going to be inexpensive but they are going to be authentic. They are going to be more thoughtful, some will be handmade, some will cost me nothing but time. However, I believe they are going to be the best gifts I have ever given because they will convey how much thought I put into the gift rather than purchasing something so I could cross them off my list.
I overcame the fear that some family members would find this approach cheap and be disappointed with what they receive from me. I decided that if they are the ones who are so shallow as to complain about a home made or inexpensive gift, then they are ungrateful. I want to take my Christmas experience back to basics, when a plate of food to share was all that a person brought with them and that was good enough, because their company was truly the best gift of all. Telling them so might just be the best gift they could receive this Christmas season and it won’t cost you a cent.
For some inexpensive Christmas gift ideas click here.
Author of 'The Briefcase', 'Money Man' and 'A Five Star Experience of a Lifetime. Just some thoughts on e-publishing and marketing.
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