In an attempt to combat prioritizing consumerism over the spirit of the holidays (but still give gifts), I’ve listed 5 steps that you can take.
1. Create a holiday “vision”
Create a one-line vision for the holidays that serves as a constant reminder of “the reason for the season”. Your vision will keep your spirit in the right place by helping you focus on what you truly believe to be most important. If you have a board at home, you can put your vision up somewhere (or even put it on the refrigerator). Anything to help you remember your vision and keep it at the forefront of your mind during the holidays will help you prioritize what’s really important to you over buying things and giving gifts.
Vision is your “why” for doing something. While a goal is an achievable task, a vision is the reason behind the task.
To create a holiday vision, think about what your core values are and what you want out of the holidays. Then, combine your values with your desired outcome to create a holiday vision.
- Step 1. Core holiday values: Loving, generous, and Christian
- Step 2. What you want from the holiday season: Quality time with family and to celebrate the real Christian meaning of Christmas
- Step 3. Combine steps 1 and 2 to create your holiday vision: To love, give, and remember Jesus’ birth
If your vision is “to love, give, and remember Jesus’ birth”, you can put this everywhere around your house so that your family keeps it at the center of every day throughout the holidays. You can use it to help you make decisions if you’re on the fence by asking whether your choice is in line with your holiday vision.
2. Create holiday goals in line with your vision
Further, you can create goals that help you stay in line with your holiday vision. Using the example above, if your vision is “to love, give, and remember Jesus’ birth”, you can create little goals to help you achieve this during the season.
Examples of corresponding goals:
- Watch the entire miniseries of The Bible
- Schedule a pot-luck with friends
- Make hand-made gifts for coworkers without expecting anything in return
- Donate to a charity close to your heart
3. Put your goals on your calendar
The holidays are so busy for everyone. It’s going to be hard to prioritize your vision and goal without putting your tasks on the calendar. If you’re going to watch The Bible miniseries, put it on the calendar every Friday and Saturday for two hours throughout the month of December. Then, you know that’s what you’re doing in order to help you remember the reason for the season. You won’t think of something else you have to do if you plan it and commit to it. The same goes for your other goals – reach out to friends and coordinate a pot-luck at your house. Go out of your way to express love and prioritize relationships because that’s what the season is all about. Additionally, plan time to make small gifts for your coworkers or people who wouldn’t necessarily expect gifts from you. Make sure to put your donations in your budget so you know you can afford it.
- Related: 21 Days to a Better Budget
4. Implement your goals no matter what
“Just do it” — the wonderful Nike motto. But more than that, it’s a meaningful phrase that you should use throughout the holidays (and throughout your life, really). If it’s Saturday and you are supposed to watch The Bible miniseries but your friend wants to go shop, just say no immediately. Whatever you’re supposed to do – just do it. Don’t give thought to the alternative. We’re all human and it’s hard to stay committed when we’re tempted. If you focus on your vision and remember to “just do it” no matter what, you’ll be so pleased with how you grew as a person during the holidays, keeping what’s important to you at the forefront.
5. Go about shopping without feeling like a sellout to consumerism
If you create a holiday vision and follow through with your holiday goals, you’ll have accomplished what you wanted from the holidays (to love, give, and remember Jesus’ birth). By remembering your vision and accomplishing your goals, you will be proactive instead of reactive. In this way, you can then shop freely knowing that while you may be enjoying shopping at the moment, you’ll be tuned into your goals later on.