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How to be a Conscious Consumer throughout the Holiday Season When the act of buying is also one of giving — it becomes a powerful way for you to effect change

The holiday season is a magical time.

Visiting with family and friends, enjoying meals and moments with those you love, plus those first snow falls create a winter wonderland. These are just a few aspects that make so many people look forward to the holidays all year round.

However, it’s no secret that this time of year is also associated with a ramp up in conspicuous consumerism. Spending around the holidays is estimate to be around $1 trillion USD this year, and when we give gifts, we may be contributing to the pollution of the world if we are not careful.

So whether you’re ready to extend your conscious consumerism into the holiday season this year or are discovering sustainable style for the first time, I’ve got some tips for being aware of what you purchase this holiday season:

Go local: One of the easiest ways to give consciously is to support local businesses and artisans. This can be as easy as purchasing clothing, accessories and gifts from holiday markets and craft sales near you. You’ll reduce carbon emissions by avoiding shipping, and you can speak directly to the maker about what went into your gift and how it was made.

Pay a little more for quality: Another way to take the focus off the sheer quantity of gifts you give is to try and purchase higher quality products, that will stand the test of time. Fairly made gifts are admittedly often more expensive than conventional products. This time of year, many ethical brands have great sales or discounts, so check to see what is being offered by the brands you’re interested in. Shop with the mantra “buy less, buy better” in mind!

Give an experience: Gifts are a lovely gesture and have their own sentiment attached to them… but nothing can replace making memories with the people you love. Give back to the people in your life who are special to you by planning a special time centered around togetherness- sledding with nieces and nephews, spending an afternoon in the kitchen cooking an old family recipe with your parents, or planning an afternoon for cousins to reconnect over lunch.

Make something: Handmade gifts are so special and personal. They can also be near-zero waste and easy on the wallet. Try stirring up some gourmet coffee syrups for a coffee-loving sibling, making a simple stuffed animal for a child, or artistically framing some old family photos for a parent.

The holiday season is a marvelous time to practice contentment and moderation. You'll avoid getting caught up in the marketing/buying frenzy and stay much more calm and grounded if you plan for a slower Christmas filled with good memories, rest, and celebration.

Don't feel pressured to make decisions that aren’t in line with your values and lifestyle. If you can't afford the gift that someone wants, don't screw up your budget to buy it. Don't over-extend yourself to be the "hostess with the mostest". Don't buy decorations and stuff for your home that you don't need just to impress relatives over the holidays. Simply give the ones you love the gift of yourself- present, joyful, and happy.

From our family to yours, we wish you a magical holiday season

Cassidy & Jen

The Mindful Market Company

Credits:

Created with images by Anna Popović - "it’s beginning to feel a lot like christmas…" • David Beale - "untitled image" • Annie Spratt - "Christmas Holly Berries" • Annie Spratt - "Holly berries" • Nathan Fertig - "untitled image" • giftpundits - "gift box christmas"

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