I LOVE LOVE LOVE buying Christmas decorations and gifts. I get lost in kitschy stores. IKEA is like a drug. Winners/TJMazz/HomeSense..those are danger zones for me. When we lived in Calgary I can honestly say that 50% of my yearly impulse spending went to Christmas decorations, home decor items and things I had no use for. I’m probably being conservative: let’s go with 75%. So how did I stop?
Somewhere along the way, there was conviction. There was reality. There was a sense that I was filling a needless void with things and stuff. Sure they look pretty in the store but with all the stuff I had at home I just couldn’t justify it anymore. I couldn’t.
Facing our weakness is only the first step to stopping bad habits. To overcome the temptation, you have to remove the temptation. So I stopped going to those stores. Stopped driving by them. Stopped.
It’s been about 3 years now since I overindulged but now I’m back in the city and the stores are all too convenient. Thrift stores are my weakness. Last week I drove by Winners and realized we’ve lived here for over 2 months and I hadn’t gone in. So I did. And you know….there wasn’t anything there that got me excited. At least not excited enough to spend money that is spoken for. Things like bills and groceries.
Retailers count on you to be wooed by their fancy window dressings and big bold sale signs. They spend a TON of money on marketing to colour preferences and the things that will entice. Women are their target audience. We are the suckers. We are so easily swayed and so very gullible. You kind of have to get angry with them …just a bit. Not raging,frothing at the mouth angry but just angry enough that you won’t go there. They have your money. They charge way too much. Get angry about that. You are paying for a name more than you are paying for quality. You are also not paying for the workers who have literally slaved over the object of your affections. Those workers get little. They are not living like you and they are struggling. So get angry…just a bit. Sure, there are ethical resellers. Yes, there are made in Canada and made in US products. But overall, we’re all getting hosed. The retailers you frequent are not concerned with your Redeemed Christmas anymore than they are concerned about how you’re going to pay for things you don’t need. They are solely relying on you being tempted and giving into that temptation. They are banking on it.
I don’t have any formula or strategy.
Pray. And then walk away.
In fact, don’t even go.
I can’t tell you when the last time was I went to a mall to shop. I have no idea. I hate malls. They are cesspools of greed and excess. I just don’t go.
Make a list of who you are buying for this Christmas. Pray over each name. Think of that person’s character, talents and strengths. You will come up with something clever and wonderful for them without setting foot into a mall. When you are good and ready, walk into the store that you need to find that item and then walk out without batting an eye at anything else.
From one spender to another~this can be done. And it’s a lot easier than you or I would have ever thought. I am living proof. Sure, I still glance at fancy windows. Of course I get excited when I see 70% off signs. But no more will I allow myself or my family to be held hostage by marketing gurus in a concrete jungle. No more.
If you love to shop. Then shop. If you can afford it, I am not here to judge. Some people just love shopping.
But if you are all about redeeming your Christmas from commercialism and excess then you have to put your foot down and just say no. Your Christmas will be delightfully simple and peaceful without the last minute gadgets and doo-dads that fell into your cart. It will be amazing. It will be the BEST Christmas.