I believe it is possible to keep the spirit of the holidays alive without contributing to the mass consumer agenda. Historically in the Euro-northern hemisphere, the holidays were a necessary part of helping people celebrate and feel the warmth of love in the face of dark days and cold nights. It marked the time of the Winter Solstice — the shortest day of the year — where sunlight was starting to return again, giving us hope.
By sharing in the bounty of food, gifts, prayers and music, people could feel the support that would get them through the harsh winter months. They invited elves and gnomes into their home to bless their space and offer protection. As North American values of the all-mighty dollar took over, we have come to see Christmas as a weird mashup of Euro-paganism, Christianity and full-blown, money-making consumerism.
As someone who believes in returning to the roots and purpose of all that has become profane, while also having to live within a tight budget, I have found ways to honour the earth, the relationships in my life and the spirit of the holiday season without breaking the bank and buying into the illusion that only the middle class or wealthy can be included in this time.
Here are 5 Ways You Can Bless this Holiday Season:
Buy your gifts or decorations from Facebook Marketplace or a local Consignment Store. By doing this, you are supporting your neighbours, keeping the cash within your community, re-using items and getting it for a reduced rate while having fun searching for that perfect item that reminds you of someone you love or something that makes you smile.
Get together with friends or family to make a holiday craft together using regular household items. You can get a ton of ideas on Pinterest!
Print off your photos from your google drive or social media pages by making an actual physical photo album, a wall calendar, a mug, or pick one to blow up and put it in a frame as a gift. You can do this through Canva, Vistaprint (they have great deals in November) or your local photo store. In a digital age, this has become a unique gift that is full of meaning and love.
Stock up on your holiday feast items now by looking for sales in flyers every week and buying bits at a time. This way you won’t feel the pressure to buy these items at the last minute and you can get excited by the meal you will be making. HINT: If you have a freezer available (or you know a friend who does), you can get some great prices on meats during November.
Create a “Santa’s Wish List” of activities you want to do between now and the New Year. Whether it’s hiking in the woods, playing a board game, going to the Santa Claus Parade, or skating in front of city hall, there are so many ways you can have cheap fun. You can check out Facebook events or your local listings to see what’s coming up. Once you’ve made your list, put those items in your calendar. Also, figure out who you would like to do this with and invite them.
These are just some ideas on how to make this a truly enjoyable holiday season without spending tons of money. I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!
Heather Warren is an inner growth coach who uses soul-based, holistic approaches to help soul survivors mend and bloom in their lives. For more info, visit: www.bheart.ca