In America, we show our love by buying gifts. We’re compulsive shoppers, addicted to the dopamine rush of tapping “add to cart”.
Is that a bad thing?
Doesn’t our economy depend on buying stuff to support businesses? C’mon, Black Friday should be a national holiday. Hell, we’re just doing our part to provide jobs! Meanwhile, we’re racking up debt and generating mountains of waste. It’s called ‘Stuffocation,’ according to cultural forecaster James Wallman. The vicious cycle of working in order to buy – and accumulating stuff to keep up with the pace.
Buy. Dispose. Repeat. It’s the American Dream.
As George Carlin famously said, “your house is a place to keep your stuff, while you buy more stuff.” Meanwhile, our planet can’t handle more trash. Americans are the worst offenders, producing three times more waste than the global average. Until recently, we exported barges of trash to other countries.
But they won’t take our stuff anymore.
Here’s my take: Maybe this isn’t the year to get everything you want, but to appreciate what you have. To show gratitude for what’s truly important.
I’d hope that more of us embrace minimalism as a way of life. Being a minimalist is about decluttering your life – the antithesis of stuffocation. Having more of what’s essential and living without the rest. More downsizing and donating. More tiny houses and fewer mcmansions. More people asking, “how much stuff do I need?”
Before the pandemic, my family embraced gifting experiences: Give a weekend getaway or a concert tickets. Collect memories, not more stuff.
As the Grinch taught us, “if Christmas doesn’t come from a store, perhaps it would mean a little bit more.”