Essentialism: Gifts & Fair Trade Consumerism
Buy less, choose well.
It is amazing how hard it is to simplify your life back to the basics, back to the essential items. Purging your home (especially the closet) is the easiest part! …At every turn you find yourself buying a second pair of slippers (me yesterday), purchasing a google home speaker, getting a spare watch strap, another cute top, one last kitchen utensil, or a new book that sounds super interesting (even though you have 3 unread) and before you know it you’re back to square-one: purging an overflowing house!
Conscious consumption is the key to a simple life – and it’s a skill! It doesn’t happen over night; it needs to be acquired over time.
The Black Friday Sales recently really made that especially clear to me. Black Friday has reached dangerous heights of consumption-driven madness. It got its name from being the day of the year that most corporate stores go from not making any profits AKA ‘being in the red’ to bringing in profits – ‘going into the black’. That’s great for corporations, but what about the overflowing environment we live in?! If it isn’t hard enough to say no to buying that pair of cute shoes, it’s almost impossible if they’re also 50% off! Willpower, where are you?!
Quality over quantity
Buying Things Can Become an Almost Mechanical Part of Daily Life
We may not even know why we want something, we just want it in that moment, so we buy it. Unfortunately, most of the things that we’re being pressured to buy aren’t well made, or we already have something similar but it’s from last season so is somehow no longer relevant. So we end up throwing it away or throwing last season’s whatever-it-is away.
So sure, we understand that consumerism has an ugly side and a dark history but what if its not for us? Does that count? Giving gifts is just such a nice thing to do! Everyone loves to pick out just the right present that you know will spark a smile on your loved ones face when they unwrap it. So what can we do? Buy conscious gifts from fair trade companies! This will ensure that whatever you’re giving your loved ones is well made, ethically sourced, and that the people who made those gifts are being treated with respect. Conscious gifts keep on giving!
Fair is the new black
Sometimes it can be hard to find fair trade gifts, but thankfully more and more people are waking up to this new way of buying gifts – one that is contrary to the attitudes of “grab what you can as fast as you can.” If we make a conscious effort to be aware of what our dollar supports and buy quality sustainable products made of materials that aren’t harmful to our environment, the demand for wasteful single use products will go down.
Every time you spend money, you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want.
Conscious consumerism can shape the world around us. Let’s become dedicated to walking a fair trade walk. One that benefits everyone, creates true abundance, and contributes to a sustainable world.
Even Better than Conscious Gifts: Non-Material Gifts!
This holiday season, let’s try to steer away from the notion that we have to give material gifts (no, not even small ones!) because if we are honest, we already have everything we need (actually, we have way more than we need). Rather, let’s gift experiences!
This goes both ways, too. If you – like most of us – end up not using most of the gifts you receive over the holidays, be proactive this year. Tell friends and family before Christmas (or birthdays, etc.) that you don’t want any material gifts (again, not even small ones!) because you already have everything you need. To make it easier for your loved ones you can suggest things like an invitation to go out for brunch together, or tickets to a certain concert, or a day-pass to the spa, or a trip to your favourite museum/botanical garden! Explain that you would rather spend quality time with them, than receive a material gift. And isn’t that what the holiday season is all about?!
Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.
Wishing you happy holidays filled with great food and lots of loved ones!
Stay tuned for more posts about essentialism & happiness, experiences over things, and more.
By Linda Rinn
If you want to know more or get that essentialism inspo, check out these medias that I have come to love:
Instagram accounts: @minimalistbible and @livingbetterwithless
Book: “Essentialism – The disciplined pursuit of less” by Greg McKeown (yeah, I know, the irony of buying a book on essentialism! ..Maybe get the kindle version instead?)
Netflix documentary: “Minimalism: A documentary about the important things” (2016), 78 min