Christmas Consumerism | Daniel Yachi
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article do not reflect the opinions of Pulse Magazine as a whole.
It’s that time of year when Mariah Carey's paycheck blows up astronomically. It’s the time of year when Christmas songs are playing on every street, people are putting decorations inside, outside and around their houses, and parents are frantically shopping to get deals on their Christmas gifts. There’s no other time when Americans spend so much money on gifts. While this sudden spike in consumerism is on-brand for Americans, and it undoubtedly boosts the economy, it’s effects on the environment and your wallet aren't as positive. Fortunately, there are many solutions to the problem of holiday shopping.
One such alternative is regifting. Sure, regifting is not classy at all, but no one has to know. That old barely-worn blazer sitting in the back of your closet can easily be dusted off and given away as if it was new. Clothing is one of the easiest gifts to regift because clothing is a necessity that doesn't spoil. So long as you find the right person to give them to, they will make a great regifted present. Books, toys, and decorations can also be very great gifts to give away. If regifting is a really big no-no however, alternatives like customizing your presents can also work. For example, if you have an old shirt or coat, buy some clothing ink from a craft store and dye it to your liking. Do a design if you like! No gift is more personal than one made personally.
Don't wanna be cheap? Fair enough. Shopping at small businesses is another great way to shop during the holiday. This is because small businesses tend to not have the resources to go to developing countries and exploit their labor and resources in mass production lines that harm nature and its residents. Furthermore, small businesses with their more limited customer base tend to care a lot more about their customers and their experience with their goods, so a lot more dedication and love is put into the products they make. Don't let Jeff Bezos profit off of your holiday season.
Finally, if you have to resort to shopping at big corporations or on Amazon, at least shop responsibly. If you have the time, dive into the background of the products you are buying. Does the business source their goods ethically? The sooner consumer habits shift more towards ethical shopping, the sooner businesses will shift towards ethical selling; after all, money is the only thing companies care about. There's no such thing as corporate social responsibility, only profit. Lastly, really consider whether or not the item you plan on buying is actually needed. I'm not preaching any sort of abstinence-only shopping, but many of our impulse buys tend to be unnecessary. A great strategy to avoid this is by waiting for a day when you've decided to buy something to let it set in before you buy. This gives your brain time to process whether you actually need the product instead of buying on an impulse.
With all this in mind, shopping can still be fun. Think of it as a fun scavenger hunt rather than a guilty pleasure.