As the holidays approach, many of us are feeling the pressure of shopping for our loved ones.
It's interesting how, especially in the U.S., gift giving for Chanukah and Christmas feels like it is growing in intensity - both what we are expected to give others and what we expect to be given from others.
In fact, buying gifts is perhaps more (if not entirely) a reflection of the consumerism culture in which we live than a expression of the Chanukah and Christmas narrative meanings or spirit.
Can we separate our desire to "give" to others through shopping and buying?
It's so easy to mindlessly spend money. It's so easy to feel disconnected from the spirit of the holiday and the essence of the people you're buying for when you're shopping (especially online and with credit cards).
But connecting to our spirit of giving feels especially important for this time of year.
What if there was a different way to purchase gifts?
Here are my five tips for mindful holiday shopping:
Decide how you want to feel
How do you want to feel while you're shopping? And how do you not want to feel? What is your intention for the holiday? What do you want the buying experience to be like? Thinking about this in advance helps orient you before you step foot in a single store or navigate to an online shopping site.
Instead of starting by going into stores or navigating to online stores, first make a list detailing for whom you're buying, your ideas for their gifts, and the amount you'll be spending. You can also make a Pinterest board for inspiration (this is one of my favorite ways to get inspired and sink into the imagery of the holiday).
Make it easy
Focus on a theme for everyone's gifts. Find one company or product that you resonate with, and purchase multiple items. Replicate gifts that would be a good fit for multiple people. This tip is especially perfect for moms!
Connect with your values
There are so many wonderful companies who are sourcing and producing goods in an ethical and sustainable way. Think about the values you hold that you'd like to see reflected in the company from which you purchase, and then make your purchases accordingly.
For families, getting on the same page with number of presents, dollar amount, or types of gifts can take the pressure off in a major way. If there are changes to this year's celebration, explain them to your children ahead of time, so that they can feel aligned, too.
It is absolutely within your power to create a mindful holiday shopping experience that feels good.