Make magic without more debt this Christmas

Make magic without more debt this Christmas

Minimalism and Frugality are terms (with different meanings)* that have relatively recently joined the common vernacular. Both are concepts which are growing in popularity.

Minimalism is all about getting rid of clutter to open up a space which enables one to live a life imbued with more meaning. Frugality is about spending very little.

At this time of year, it seems that email traffic from everyone increases. Both from the Minimalists, and from those who would have us be Consumerists. In other words - the number and ferocity of the emails and their message intensifies at this intense time of year: the minimalists vs the consumerists.

Even if one leans towards the Minimalist ideal (of not over buying), in practice it can be very hard to ignore all the sales and offers landing in our inboxes at this time of year.

Much of the Minimalist literature comes out of the US - where the scale of consumerism is bigger than in SA. But the theory still applies.

Because the Minimalist mails come out of the States, there has recently been much discussion around US holidays. Thanksgiving - where everyone shows gratitude for all they have. Black Friday - the day immediately following Thanksgiving, when the same people who have just given thanks for all they have, rush out to buy new stuff! And Cyber Monday where there are more sales! The Minimalists do have a point - that the offers and bargains and pressure to buy at this time of year, is at a frenetic level of hype. And Christmas is just around the corner.

Being aware of all of this, many of us here in SA dutifully deleted emails and texts that clogged our inboxes and phones on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We tried hard to all day to avoid overspending. But the external pressure to buy can be immense. So, perhaps the lesson is to be as mindful as possible of overspending. This could be the first step on a long road to recovery towards saving: to consider overspending every time before we make any purchase.

In the run up to Christmas, we will no doubt receive many more emails and offers. Those of us with children, are especially targeted by those aiming to sell the dream of creating happy children through gift-giving. But with foresight, we will have an opportunity to practice mindfulness with regards to overspending every time before we buy a gift.

This year let’s not overspend. This year let’s be mindful of creating magic and peace without getting into debt. This year let’s consider giving loved ones experiences rather than material goods as gifts. Psychologists have offered proof to show that experiences make us happier than material gifts, anyway.

Let’s persist. With peace, love and joy in our minds, let’s celebrate the season with connection and authenticity, rather than with overspending.