October is almost over and November is just hours away. November brings increasingly cooler days (especially here in the Northern Midwest) but most people think of November as the start of the holiday season.
If you’ve lived in the US for more than a year, you realize that we take our holidays pretty darn seriously. And as Americans, what do we do if we’re serious about something? We spend money on it.
How about this: In 2000 we spent about 400 billion dollars for the holidays. Last year we spent almost 620 billion! (A 220 billion dollar increase in 14 years? What a jump!) This is obviously a big deal for retailers.
We all know that the retailers are out to get us this time of year. We do our best to stave off the shopping as long as we can to make it through Thanksgiving. Then Black Friday comes and we are pressured into a frenzy of deals that starts strong and keeps going until December 24th. Many stores realize that often we can’t even wait until Thanksgiving so they are happy to let us get started even earlier.
The confliction has been very apparent recently. We don’t want to be overtaken with commercialism. We want to focus on family. There have been boycotts and public shaming… yet at the same time the uptick of ads in the mail, shows on crafting the perfect centerpiece, and the scheming of coworkers to obtain the perfect gag gift is undeniable– and we feel it is unavoidable.
Of course nothing is wrong with good deals, beautiful centerpieces, or grossly oversized coffee mugs that say, “Just let me finish this one cup and then I’ll handle your problem.”
But 620 billion dollars worth?
At the beginning of the year I tried to encourage everyone to declutter and clear out a lot of the excess that can get in the way of enjoying life. How about I now try to encourage you to bring less into your life in the first place? Let’s combat this drive to purchase so much and instead save so much (money and time) in the process.
For all of November I will be writing daily short blog posts encouraging you to scale back. These tips may be most helpful during this most expensive (and many say “stressful”) time of year but they can be used all year long.
So come with me on another journey of intentional thinking about how much stuff we all have.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/44836615@N00/3135508115″>aftermath</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/56028148@N00/3146198325″>Dia Disappointed</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>