Currently we mine, drill or similarly extract raw materials or relentlessly drain natural systems e.g. fish from the sea or nutrients from the soil. The raw materials are then processed and made into something, transported, stored and then sold to us. We use them and then throw them away, either to landfill or to be incinerated. It is for these reasons that, in the area of sustainability, days such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday really rankle. And yet there is a backlash with the #BuyNothingDay social media campaign, certain stores not online on Black Friday and some shops refusing to get involved, claiming that all that is happening is that things that would’ve been bought anyway are bought earlier at a discounted price. The fact that people are tending more towards buying experiences rather than things would suggest that we are at “peak stuff” with people becoming overwhelmed with clutter in their lives.
With increasing levels of debt in the UK maybe now is the time for us to make a stand against over the top consumerism, save resources and energy and make Christmas more about spending quality time with friends and family. Explain what you’re doing and why, you maybe nicely surprised by their reaction, as it takes the pressure off them to reciprocate with something they can’t afford and you don’t need.
Here is a list of things suggested by Action for Happiness to help you to maybe do things differently this year:
• Make some simple homemade gifts e.g. bake some cookies to give away with the children.
• Make a decoration as a present.
• Invite neighbours round for a Christmas drink.
• Cook a meal for someone.
• Go for a walk with a friend or family.
• Call someone you haven’t spoken to for a while for a chat instead of sending a card.
It has been proven many times that the accumulation of things does not make us happy, retail therapy only has a short lived feel good factor. There is much more happiness to be gained from spending quality time with your family or laughing with friends.