What did you do yesterday?black-friday-2901754_1920

Now known internationally as ‘Black Friday’.

Were you out at the shops searching for bargains?

Surfing the web?

Suck(er)ed into buying something you didn’t want or need by a carefully-targeted and tempting enticement from a previously-visited or a favourite website?

Are you experiencing ‘buyer’s remorse’ about any of your purchases?

Whilst the timing of this message is targeted towards those of us who celebrate, mark or ‘suffer’ Christmas as we know it today, it is part of the much wider movement that asks us to each reflect on our consumerism overall and its effect on not only the environment, but also on our own personal finances and happiness – and how what we do affects other people, too.

Whatever you did or didn’t do yesterday, we all have the choice today to do something different(ly) in the run up to Christmas this year, and from hereon in…

I read an article in the Independent Online recently about families who are choosing to go present-free this year – and some who have done this for a while now.

And I’ve written about similar things here in the past:

Now is a good time for us each to really think about what we plan to spend, and what we might end up actually spending, financially – and how buying for other people often also places them under an obligation to ‘return the favour’ – even if they can’t afford to.

And also how we plan to spend our time over the Christmas and New Year break (if we are taking one, that is!) – and what may happen in reality, there, too. Do we need to set some boundaries in place to ensure that we get at least some time for ourselves, for our preferred way to rest and relax?

I think we all deserve, and need, some of that. 

Spending time with some members of our family can be stressful, that’s for sure.

But time with other people (family, friends or volunteering to help strangers) can also be a pleasure – and so much more fun – and, as recent research tells us, can make for a longer and happier life, too.

If you don’t have time to actually be there during the festive period (there are plenty of people who need to work, for example), how about giving someone an IOU for time you will spend together – doing something you both enjoy, or perhaps trying out something new – in 2020 instead?

It could be the best gift they will get this year… gifts-152432_640