I do not remember shopping for holidays as a child. I do recall giving and generosity and I recall all that I created with my own hands to give to family members. I made a woven gorgeous scarf for my mother, for example, an embroidered pillow cover for the house/everyone, I sang for my friends, and generally crafted the gifts I gave. 

My parents gave me what I needed (clothing) as gifts, one gift per holiday. And, they gave me generously as needed with no dates or special reason. What I valued most was not material gifts, but time with loved ones and experiences. Experiences were either together or by myself. For example, one of the best gifts I recall is a subscription to the Symphony’s children’s program which was monthly. These were heavenly.

For most of us, our children hardly need anything. Gifts are therefore generally superfluous. Perhaps we can engage children in giving to those who actually need it. To children who don’t have enough food, clothes, educational needs, housing, and care. There are many ways to do that, year around, and not only with money, but with acts of service and kindness.

Giving and holidays were not always about shopping and are not inherently so. In fact, in most of history, they were not about consumerism at all.

The transformation of celebration days into a shopping project is new. Material goods are far from the only way to give. In a way, it is the least effort, as paying for something is less involved than making the gift yourself, or giving an experience rather than material goods.

In a world that is saturated with material goods and one that is getting destroyed by this surplus, I have been thinking about how to enjoy giving, peace, and family connection, without the shopping; without doing harm to the planet with more driving and goods and packing and cards… or at least much less of it.

The industry propels this idea that giving is about shopping – for profit. I don’t buy that (pan intended.)

If you have similar aspirations and would like to share your ideas of joy, giving, sharing, and experiencing without leaving footprints on our overwhelmed planet, please share in the comments. Also share any ideas for keeping the holidays peaceful, harmonious, and nurturing for you and for your children and families that are not about material goods. Let’s learn from each other and start a movement of “joy without shopping”. 

I am looking forward to your contributions in the comments below the video.

Naomi Aldort

©Copyright Naomi Aldort, 2017