Celebrating the Holidays...Sans Gifts

December 12, 2017

Let’s time travel to a few weeks ago…

It’s 6pm on Thanksgiving, and you’ve been up since 6am preparing the full Turkey Day spread. As soon as you manage to scarf down a plateful of food, it’s time to leave behind the dishes and rush to Target to stand in line with 300 of your closest friends to score the best Black Friday deals. After multiple rounds of bumper carts and far too many wayward elbows (accidental and otherwise) from fellow deal hunters, you have a moment of reflection: Is this consumer marathon reflective of the personal values I want to celebrate during the holiday season?

For many, the notions of togetherness and giving back seem to be floundering ideals next to the hyper-consumerism that characterizes this time of year. For all you guys out there, we’ve compiled a list of some alternatives to holiday spending on consumer products:

  1. Host a holiday party to bring together your fave people with an assortment of your favorite holiday dishes and cocktails. If this sounds overwhelming, consider the alternative…hand-selecting a gift for every person who you care about.
  2. Instead of braving the crowds, brave…your basement. Take a weekend to clean out your home, and make an “excess donation” to a shelter for those in need.
  3. Take a trip somewhere memorable with friends and family, even if it’s somewhere local (like, you can’t get more festive than the annual Blossoms of Lights display at Denver Botanic Gardens).
  4. Donate to a charity in the name of a loved one. Check out Charity Navigator to find a nonprofit organization that’s in line with your values.
  5. Find a local organization through which you can sponsor a local family in need. The Denver Rescue Mission’s “Adopt-A-Family” program is a great one to try.

For many, the act of giving is the reason for the season. A Secret Santa or gift exchange can still offer the joy of hand-selecting the perfect gift, but without the stress and financial burden of purchasing for everyone in your family or friend group. However, if you’ve been feeling like the stresses of holiday shopping have tainted your joy for the season, consider the values you want to honor, and opt for one or more of the alternatives above to reset your focus.