I dove into facts on how consumerism affects our everyday lives. The results were depressing. Along with many issues in the world, we have a long way to go.
Consumerism isn’t a bad thing. We are human, we consume. It’s how we are handling ourselves as consumers that leads to issues. Our culture in North America is over-consumptive. We’re constantly fed ads that push us towards wanting more, with promises of contentment and happiness on the other side. Of course—as we’ve all experienced—the other side of more is wanting more. Thus, the excessive cycle of always upgrading and attempting to buy ourselves contentment.
Conscious consumerism is the practice of buying with intention. It’s putting thought into every purchase that you make, calculating the true cost, and getting real with yourself. (You’ll find our tips on becoming a more conscious consumer here.) Becoming a more conscious consumer is a practice and—as with all things—it takes time.
With the holidays right around the corner, excessive consumerism is about to be right in our faces. It is possible to have a lovely, cozy holiday season while still practicing conscious consumerism. Actually, remaining conscious will make the season all the cozier.
Be. Being still and slowing down in a fast-paced world is hard. There’s a lot of pressure to “keep up.” But what are we rushing for? Is it worth it? We put ourselves through unnecessary stress, especially during the holiday season. Sit down by yourself and be. Be still. Be at peace. Be in the present moment. And take the time to set intentions for your holidays. The pressure to keep up, move fast, and buy all the things isn’t going anywhere. It’s up to you to put on the breaks and decide what you want.
Remain strong. After you’ve set your intentions, expect more pressure. Whatever you’ve decided is best for you, remain strong, and stand up for yourself. Going against the flow is never easy. But practicing being more intentional with your space, time, and money is worth the hard work.
Support small, local businesses. If you’re looking for gifts this holiday season, keep small, local businesses in mind. This year was not an easy one for many small shops. Showing some extra love to your local makers this holiday season could be a life-saver for them. It’s so rewarding to consciously look for something that’s locally made over something that’s from a big box store. It gives you that giggly excited feeling and your local makers do a happy dance.
Communicate. Tell your family and friends that you’re practicing conscious consumerism. Talk about how you’ve benefited from becoming a more conscious consumer. The holiday season is a good time to talk about consumerism and how to handle gifts. If you’re not buying gifts this season or don’t wish to receive gifts, talk about it. Change will happen only if someone takes the first step.
We wish you the coziest, slowest, most wonderful, intentional holiday season. May you be full of light no matter how dark the world feels in the moment.
Jade is a freelance writer and copy editor, living in a sleepy town in Northern Ontario. She loves growing plants, playing with dirt, and staying cozy.