It’s December 17, and my email inbox is full of dire warnings and existential crises.
Only 7 more shopping days til Christmas!
Did you get that perfect gift yet?
You better get these golf clubs for your Dad before he forgets he loves you!!
Ok fine, that last one isn’t real, but it might as well be. In theory, this time of year is about reflection, joy, and human connection. But in practice, it often feels like a non-stop cacophony of marketing messages, a series of lamentations from brands who want me to think that the key to happy family memories is spending a lot of money.
The good news, though? It doesn’t need to be this way! Despite what the marketers in our inboxes – and everywhere else – want us to think, holiday happiness does not require buying into consumerism. In fact, opting out of the shopping frenzy might be exactly what we need.
That’s why I love love love CCFC’s latest resource, 15 Tips for Commercial-Free, Fun-Filled Family Holidays. It’s full of wisdom from some of our favorite partners, like Story of Stuff and Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment, and offers fun, practical ideas for remaking the holidays to be truly restful, rejuvenating, and sustainable. (In fact, this resource is adapted from the work of our friends at New Dream, who have been working for years to help families and communities get more of what matters!)
Probably my favorite tip in the whole bunch is #14: Get your relatives on board with Less Is More. It offers a super-practical worksheet for talking to your family and community about celebrating differently, without making them feel alienated or uncared for. After all, in a world where we’re told constantly that giving stuff equals showing love, it can be a real challenge to convince well-meaning family members to scale back excessive materialism around the holidays!
As December winds to a close, I know that the marketers in my inbox aren’t going to get off my back, and they’re probably not going to get off yours, either. But with these ideas in my back pocket, I’m looking forward to a holiday season full of warmth, joy, and family – no purchase necessary.