You know what I think most people love about this time of the year? The excess. All that restraint we tried to exercise throughout the rest of the year (emphasis on the word “tried”) is gone, because, “It’s December! Who cares?! Let’s start again in January!” And so begins the month-long onslaught of excess food, booze, partying, crying tears of both joy and regret from previously mentioned excess booze, dancing and tinsel.
So much tinsel.
And while we could all do with celebrating the year that’s been and actually having fun rather than working our asses off (which, I assume you have been, because you’re reading this website), the excess waste of this season is something we could all try dialling down.
Read More: How to Be a Money Minimalist These Holidays
Shannah Kennedy and Lyndall Mitchell, authors of Shine: 20 Secrets to a Happy Life, say the key to doing this is to stop fuelling what they call “stuffocation”, i.e. our addiction to accumulating more and more things in our lives, and put the focus back onto what really matters. “It’s time to get back to the basics and what is essential to us, and to eliminate some of the noise and distraction. It’s time to start living on purpose again,” they write in their book.
“Christmas is a time of celebration and giving that brings family and friends together. It’s also a mini-circuit breaker from one working year to the next,” Shannah tells Collective Hub.
Lyndall adds, “Unfortunately, the commercial side of this season has completely taken over with many people feeling like they have to give gifts for the sake of giving gifts. This fuels the stuffocation in our chaotic lives.”
Case in point: that joke present your work wife gave you last year for Secret Santa that’s been sitting in the bottom of your office drawer ever since the initial laugh faded or the $2 reindeer coffee cups your aunt gave you – and every one of your cousins. It’s a major waste of resources and coin, so in order to reduce waste, Shannah and Lyndall say we need to be mindful in how we approach gift giving.
1. Get your JOMO on
“Start by setting the intention of having a peaceful Christmas and set a limit on the amount of parties you go to,” Shannah says. “Don’t be afraid to embrace JOMO – joy of missing out – instead of being motivated by FOMO (fear of missing out).”
2. Give yourself a budget
“So often we get caught in the chaos and spend too much on worthless items for people,” Lyndall says. “We could actually give them an experience with us instead, like a voucher for lunch together (which supports friendship) in the New Year, or setting the scene with the family to see who can be the most creative with only $20 to spend.”
3. Keep perspective
“Set aside five to 10 minutes every morning to connect with yourself and do some meditation and breathing to start the day a fresh,” Lyndall says. “Rather than surviving the Christmas rush, we can really thrive in it with boundaries and the right mindset.”
4. Practise gratitude each night
“Write down what you are grateful for each night and how you want to create a protective boundary for yourself the following day,” Shannah says. “This sets the brain up for a great night’s sleep and helps you make better decisions the following day.”
5. Focus on what’s real
“Keep the focus on relationships and great conversations, rather than giving so much stuff,” Lyndall says. “Where our focus goes, our energy flows.”
Then, once you’ve consciously decided that yes, you are going to buy something lovely for your work wife, because she was amazingly supportive when you had that mini-breakdown a few months ago, Pippa Buxton, low-waste expert and owner of Little Earth Nest, has these suggestions:
* “Pay attention to goods with unnecessary packaging and avoid them if you can; and if you can’t, be sure to dispose of the waste in a responsible way.”
* “Shop online as it has the potential to reduce carbon mileage in some cases rather than driving long distances between stores,” Pippa says.
* “If you are shopping in store, remember to bring your own bags. Stash a few extra in the car and your handbag in case you find yourself doing a bit of random gift shopping in the lead up to the big day.”
* “On the other side, if you’ve been given a gift you don’t need, find it a new home either as a gift – while it’s a bit controversial, I support re-gifting! – or donate it to your local charity.”