Christmas gifts

Whether you love or hate Christmas shopping, most of us are obligated to spend thousands each year on what ultimately leads to billions of tons of landfill the following year. And it’s not just Christmas. It’s the birthday of every kid in your child’s class. Easter, Halloween, Valentines, the list goes on. Endless consumption of balloons, streamers, glitter, and glow sticks.

How do we end this cycle of madness? The key is early communication and setting precedents. Wait till Christmas to tell your sister’s 5-year-old that Santa didn’t come this year and you’re up a creek without a paddle.

How to reduce your Christmas spending

It’s all about managing people’s emotions and expectations. At your family Christmas gathering, after lunch and gift opening, when all are feeling rather jolly, raise the subject. Always have an angle that’s for the greater good like saving the planet. Never revert to selfish arguments like saving money. Don’t get personal either (Sally, this plastic crap ends up in our bin on boxing day).

Instead, mention that your New Year resolution is to reduce consumption, protect your children’s future and teach the next generation good habits. Propose a new gift giving tradition. It could be doing something nice for each other each year, a donation to a charity, a secret Santa setup, making gifts instead of buying, whatever will work for your family dynamic.  Approach the dilemma in this fashion and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the buy-in from your family and friends.

Happy holidays!