The Christmas season is upon us. It’s time to savour our friends and family and think about how we can ease the burdens of others right? Hmmm...yes...in theory.
For many people, Christmas is more about fighting for a parking spot at the mall and spending a lot of time and money buying meaningless junk. In short, Christmas sometimes feels more like a celebration of mass consumption and consumer debt than goodwill.
Thankfully, more and more people are working to redefine this consumeristic approach to Christmas, by giving experiences instead of stuff.
Why? Lots of good reasons. Firstly, most of us have too much stuff. Our homes are overflowing. Storage facilities are the fastest-growing real estate segment in North America. We’re literally paving paradise to store stuff we don’t need.
Your grandparents didn’t have this much stuff. Statistically, their house was smaller than yours and still they didn’t need storage or organizing solutions. They owned an average of nine outfits while we own thirty. Canadian families spend $1,700 on new clothing annually while throwing out or giving away two-hundred pounds of clothes every year.
The popularity of Marie Kondo and her tidying revolution is a testament to the fact that collectively we feel burdened by our clutter. Even though we have twice as many material goods as we did fifty years ago, we’re less happy. This is because we have to work harder to pay for all this stuff and our free time is being absorbed by organizing and caring for it. In short, overconsumption is robbing us of the time for things that make us truly happy like nurturing friends and family and contributing to our communities.
And, our love affair with stuff is trashing the planet. Household goods are responsible for sixty percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and up to eighty percent of land, material, and water use. Yikes!
So this Christmas why not take a stand, make you and the people you love happier by giving gifts you can store in your heart. Luckily for all of us, Vancouver is leading the way in reimagining Christmas gift-giving. Check out Metro Vancouver’s Make Memories, Not Garbage website.
Also, check out this cool Vancouver Is Awesome article outlining a hundred local experiences that would make awesome gifts. Ideas range from improv lessons to First Nation kayak tours to crafting classes and circus school! There are so many amazing options your heart might just explode with joy!
P.S. A Tradle membership is the perfect zero-waste gift for new parents!
P.P.S. Read the Becoming Minimalist Blog for surprising statistics about how much stuff we own and some great tips on how to simplify your life.