The billboards, commercials, and emails will shout a simple premise today: Buy more stuff to live a happier life.
We’ll be promised deals on electronics to upgrade our life, sales on clothes to become more popular, and offers on appliances required to create the perfect home.
These advertisements will feature smiling children, happy families, and groups of friends enjoying the greatest holiday season ever.
There is no doubt the imagery all around us today (and for the coming month) will paint a picture of how much our life can improve by buying something new.
But today, rather than desiring all the things we don’t have, it would be wise to take a few moments imagining life without shopping.
Think of the possibilities…
Less shopping would mean less regret.
There are legitimate needs in our lives, of course. And sometimes we can find those items on sale. But most of the purchases made on Black Friday weekend have nothing to do with legitimate needs.
In fact, 42% of shoppers say they regret purchases made on Black Friday. No doubt because most purchases on Black Friday are impulse buys not based in necessity.
But look around your home, there are countless purchases and dollars spent we wish we could get back. That regret never shows up in commercials or billboards, we feel it only after we get home.
Less shopping means more time.
Everything we own requires time to purchase, manage, and care for. (And that doesn’t include the time needed to earn the money to buy it in the first place).
On average, Americans spend over 90 minutes per day shopping—that’s 11 hours/week.
Some shopping is required (groceries for example). But just imagine what life could look like with an extra 11 hours every week. Less rush, less stress, more margin, more time for the things you truly love.
Less shopping means more money.
According to some studies, the average American will spend $1,802 on total holiday spending this year with Millennials leading the way at $2,053/person.
(By the way, that statistic is based per person, not per family—so multiply accordingly for your household.)
And given that traditionally, 70% of Americans overspend their holiday budget, a life with less shopping today provides a more joyful and less stressful January for sure.
Less shopping means more attention on family.
One of the greatest deceptions propagated this time of year is that you need to buy a lot of stuff for your family to enjoy the holidays. It’s simply not true.
Stressed, tired, broke parents are not what children need for an enjoyable season. Just the opposite. They need parents present and involved in their lives.
Imagine how different our holiday seasons would look if we spent less time stressing about, shopping for, and wrapping up gifts from a department store and more time giving children our undivided attention instead.
Less shopping means a holiday season more focused on the right things.
Each of us will define the reason for the season differently. I’ll focus on my personal faith; you’ll focus on yours. Or you’ll choose to focus on family or gratitude or end-of-year reflection.
None of us will say the most important reason for the holiday season is consumerism. But many of us will inadvertently live like it is.
We’ll spend time hustling and bustling through online and physical stores. We’ll look closer at sales and advertisements. We’ll spend money on things we don’t need. We’ll stress about getting the perfect gift for the perfect someone. Even 77% of us will buy gifts for ourselves.
But every hour spent shopping and every dollar spent at the store is one less dollar and hour spent in remembrance for the deeper meaning of this holiday season.
Certainly, we’ll live a bit differently this time of year than the other 11 months—and for good reason. But let’s not let shopping overshadow the true meaning of the holidays.
Today, and over the coming months, we’ll be painted a glamorized picture of how shopping will improve our holiday season.
We should all slow down long enough—starting today— to imagine the inverse: a holiday season built on our own terms.
With less shopping, we can all enjoy a more intentional holiday season this coming year.