3 Tips for Reducing Consumerism the Holiday Season

I do enjoy the holiday season. I like the putting up the tree, and I enjoy spending time with family, and I like that winter is falling, and that I want to be safe and comfortable in my home. However, one of the things that really bothers me about the holiday season is the consumerism.

There’s so much shopping and buying, and there seems to be a lot of waste. There seems to be a great deal of focus on things, rather than on people, and on strengthening the relationships that matter in life. It’s easy to get swept up in the consumerism. However, with a little conscientiousness, it’s possible to reduce the consumerism in your life.

Re-Establish Your Priorities

There is something about the holiday season that encourages you to throw out the principles that govern you the rest of the year. It’s easy to go over budget. To buy more stuff than you normally would. To relax a little on your standards of sustainability. This is because the novelty of the season tends to lead us to forget our priorities. Everything — from schedules to schoolwork to careers — is a little out of whack.

This is a good time to take a step back and re-establish your priorities. You can still have a good holiday season when you remember your priorities. Indeed, your holiday season can be even better when you remember your priorities. Stop and think about what’s most important to you. Your friends and family, your health, and the environment, are more important than stuff. Remind yourself of that, and it will be easier to detach yourself from the rampant consumerism around you.

Limit What You Plan to Buy

Examine each item on your holiday shopping list. Why do you want to purchase it? Do you really need it? Will it really enhance your life and increase your enjoyment this holiday season? Do you really need to purchase an expensive gift for everyone on your list? Could you make items that are more personal and unique, but less costly?

Think about what you are buying and why you are buying it. A little introspection can go a long way. Then, limit your list. Cross of items on your holiday shopping list without buying them. Make an effort to turn to things that don’t require a huge bank account. Focus on the things you can’t buy in your life, and how much happier they make you, and you will spend less, and probably feel more fulfilled.

Serve Others

One of the best ways to avoid letting consumerism take over your holiday season is to serve others. Helping others is one of the best ways take your mind off you. When you perform service for others, it’s hard to think about what you want — especially when you are thinking about those who are less fortunate. Consider how you can help someone else, and you will find yourself less focused on material things. Make it a family service project. Go to the soup kitchen. Take items to the homeless shelter. Look for ways to help others as a family, and you will build good memories that have nothing to do with consumerism.

The Beauty in Saving Your Skin and the Water Supply

I have sensitive skin and so a while ago I went to a dermatologist for some over the counter skin care cleanser and spot treatment cream. When the labels said the products might bleach clothes, not to mention some other unpleasant side effects,  I paused and thought “wait this might bleach my face towel and yet I want to put it on my skin”? What am I putting on and ultimately onto my body? Moreover, how will these products affect the environment when they are washed  down the drain?

This is not to say that before this realization I was completely naive about skin care products. A couple of years ago I heard about this website Skin Deep and have since been trying to green my cosmetics, skin care products, shampoo etc.

The problem is I have sensitive skin as I mentioned, which is also problem prone skin, and lots of soap free natural products just were not cutting it, hence the prescription from my doctor

But after my “A Ha!” moment with the bleaching cleanser and cream, I was truly committed to greening my skin care regimen without spending too much money! So I’ve been testing several products and have finally found some that really work for me

So twice a day I cleanse my face with Avalon Organics Lavender Facial Cleansing Milk. Twice a week I use dermae’s Microdermabrasion Scrub. These can both be found in gourmet grocery stores here as well as health food stores and of course you can also buy them online. What is really remarkable is that you can get these products for pretty much the same price you would any mainstream cleanser and scrub as these both retail for $11.95 and $32.59 respectively. I used to use similar products where the cleanser would cost $7-$15 and the scrub $30-50 so my budget on these items is relatively unchanged.  However, you are not paying for ingredients you really don’t want to be putting on your face. There are a ton of ingredients you want to avoid in skin care products but the ones I look for and try to avoid are phthalates, parabens and petroleum based products as these can be linked to birth defects, cancer, allergies and other nasties.

There are approximately 3,700 cosmetics companies in Canada, most of which were small and medium-sized ones, producing more than 20,000 kinds of cosmetic products. The Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CCTFA) is the leading Canadian trade association for the personal care products industry. CCTFA members, which represent 80-90% of the industry in Canada are at the forefront of a $7.5 billion (retail) industry in Canada.  This means Canadians spend about $9 billion (retail) on cosmetics.  These products are usually removed using water and that water ends up flowing freely down the drains in our sinks and enters the water supply.  Scary thought.

Have you tried greening your cosmetics? What products work for you?