Life by Kimmy

My life, designed by me.

Christmas 2012: Breaking patterns of excess consumerism

If I had a dollar for every time I rationalized an impulse purchase by saying “it’s only xxx amount,” well, as the saying goes… I would have a lot of dollars.  I am trying to train myself to break this pattern of impulse spending because I am trying to live by the other age-old saying- if you take care of the cents the dollars will take care of themselves.

Of course, Christmas seems a difficult time of year to being this new approach to money management, but I have never been known for doing things the easy way!

My  first challenge was to stop thinking that our Christmas would be enhanced by buying more decorations, Christmas themed paraphernalia and anything that I walked past, stopped and regarded as ‘soooooo cute!’.  Soooooo cute usually translates to regrettable impulse buy.  It has been difficult.  I mean a huge tub of Christmas decorations for $5 at Kmart? Bargain!  Do I need them? NO.  I have plenty of decorations that I have accumulated over various years and also, I am looking at it from this point of view; will those extra baubles enhance our Christmas experience? Will it make a difference to how our family celebrate or feels on the day? The answer is clearly NO.  I do not need any of these accoutrements that are placed in such a way to make me think that I need them, in order to create a magical Christmas.

This year, apart from my thoughtful, authentic gifts, I am giving my family the gift of myself.  I am going to give them a person who is far less stressed from over spending, far less anxious about creating the perfect Christmas with accessories.  I am going to spend time with them and enjoy their company.  I am going to reflect with them about how very lucky we are to have each other.  I hope that I can teach them, by example, that we do not need to buy lots of gifts to prove how special we are to each other.

Tips for embracing the Christmas spirit without the high price tag.

  • Try to see the Christmas themed items for what they are – marketing.  You realise that pretty packaging contains the same biscuits that came from the same production line as the ones that were half that price in November?   Ask yourself, will this item enhance my Christmas? (Hint; If the item is chocolate then the answer YES is perfectly valid!)
  • Take to Google! There are literally squillions of ideas for inexpensive gifts, cheap decorations, printables and loads of little extra touches that you can be inspired by or utilize for free.
  • Inexpensive and creative doesn’t necessarily mean crafty or handmade.  I have obtained some gifts this year using Loyalty Points.
  • A shared gift for a larger family can be a good way to give something great while keeping expenses down.
  • Can you DO something for someone rather than buy them something just for the sake of it? Perhaps an elderly relative with no access to transport would like to be taken out for lunch? Maybe a family without a lawnmower would like their garden tidied?
  • Share the time you have saved by not being a slave to the shopping centres with family and friends that you have not caught up with for a while.
  • Pool your resources.  For example, enlist your baking friends to help you bake gifts and in return use one of your skills to help them with their gifts.

I would love to hear how others are embracing the idea of an authentic Christmas this year! Feel free to comment and share the love!


Kimmy xox

2 comments on “Christmas 2012: Breaking patterns of excess consumerism

  1. Sue Martin Griggs
    December 12, 2012

    For the past several years three of my friends and I have opted out of gift giving and instead get together for lunch during the holiday season and each exchange a book that we have read that was meaningful through the past year. We each get a book (we call it our pass around) which we read and then, throughout the year we pass it on to the others. At the end of the year we have each read three new books and each book is returned to its original owner. It has become a beloved tradition and we are always excited to share our individual choice for ‘best book of the year’ with the others.

  2. kimlbayne
    December 15, 2012

    Thanks Sue! I am catching up with some dear friends today for our end of year get together lunch and we always doing a Kris Kringle together. I love this idea, I might suggest this! Thank you for your comment, much appreciated!
    Kimmy xox

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