December … a beautiful, exciting, and horrifyingly stressful time of the year. Sorry, that was blunt. Let’s be real with one another, though. It’s a joy to be able to give to the ones we love! Holiday shopping also induces great anxiety and puts normal priorities on the backburner. Needless to say, when you’re bouncing around, rushing to find gifts, time, and sanity, mindfully shopping might be the last thing on your list. Hear me out, though. These tips whether you try one or all could make your holiday shopping experience not only feel fun again but have better results. By that, I mean, your purchases have value to not only the giftee but to the world. Take the time to hack holiday shopping in a conscious way. Here are some tips to make it easy for you.
Hacking Holiday Shopping
Notice your state of mind.
I want to stress this: holiday shopping should be as stress-free as possible. Seems like an oxymoron, right? In my own experience, I’ve learned it’s all in your head. If you can’t think of what to buy or can’t find what you want, it probably has a lot to do with how fogged up your brain is from worry. Get rid of the fog, put a smile on, and doors will start opening for you. Discovering mindful purchases is a huge game changer for how you feel when you start diving into that budget. Think about it! How does a shirt from Walmart make you feel in comparison to a shirt from a small business or one that plants a tree for every purchase? It’s different–in a good way. Yes, I hear your concerns about the price differences, but you’d be surprised by what those differences really are and the true value when comparing shirts. We’ll get there, keep reading!
I know, time is flying, but how long does it take to Google something? With good wifi, you can probably make record time in finding the products on your list in the most consciously crafted condition. Search for local stores, search for eco-friendly, search for cruelty-free, organic, cause-focused, etc. There are so many ways you can gift your friends and family, why not gift them in a way that sends a positive ripple effect out to the world?
Especially helpful for when you’re not sure of what to get someone, using Google for holiday shopping can help you find clarity. You can compare prices and discover stores you might not have nearby, making the gift both unique and thoughtful. How does that make you feel? Different–in a good way? Of course, it really is the thought behind the gift that creates a positive giving experience. (Note for those of you with hard-to-gift people: remember, the perfect gift doesn’t exist. A gift filled with love, appreciation, and thoughtfulness, however, does.)
Speaking of all the loving energy we put into gifts, how about consciously crafted gifts? Pinterest is a wonderful place for inspiration. In the past, I’ve painted coat racks, made jewelry holders, candles, face scrubs, and so on. This year, I’m buying a box of mason jars and making food treats. Some ideas I’ve had are a homemade hot cocoa mix, herbal teas, soup mixes (all they need is to buy the broth), chocolate covered nuts/pretzels. It’s a great way to make something special for a lot of people without breaking the bank or running around the mall in a panic. It’s also a fun way to get together with friends or family, work together, or spend downtime at home in the days leading up to your holiday party.
Create a list & bring your own bags.
Know what you’re buying so that you can stay focused! This will not only ease your anxiety while on the hunt for the right gift, but it could save you time, gas, money, and if you know what you’re looking for, maybe you can find a conscious version of it. For example, I knew I wanted a candle for someone but I didn’t want one with tons of bad chemicals for this person to inhale. I had the intention and without even looking for it, I walked passed a table in WholeFoods where a woman was selling just that. Set the intention of what you’re looking for, seriously, it makes a difference! You can also save some trees, avoid plastic bags that are extremely harmful to the earth, and maybe even save ten cents by bringing your own bags.
Avoid buying things that are easy and cheap.
Yes, my candle probably cost more than one at Walmart. However, it’s worth the money because it means my friend will breathe in the scents of essential oils and natural herbs, rather than artificial scents and chemicals. Things that are quick and easy to buy hold a very different weight, typically. They are usually made in a big factory without thought. The woman who sold me the candle, gift wrapped it herself, made it herself, and was probably the happiest woman in WholeFoods when I said, “This smells amazing! I’m buying it!” So, go the extra mile. Spend a dollar more or buy something smaller but more conscious. The value of the gift isn’t in the size.
I think one of the biggest challenges we have in shopping is not knowing. Yes, surprise, you don’t know what to get you 3rd cousin once removed or the roommates’ parents who invited you over. But we also don’t know where our stuff comes from or the possibilities our purchases have to do good and thus make us feel good. I’m here to tell you, though, you can change lives with holiday gifts, you can help the environment, encourage a business to give back, or use your dollar to vote against sweatshops. You can make the holidays brighter, right here, right now. Doesn’t that ease your concerns?
If you have questions, more tips, or anything to add, let me know in the comments below.