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A person holds their credit card in front of their laptop keyboard. They are shopping for their loved ones online.

6 Ways to Be a Mindful Shopper This Holiday Season

Holiday shopping can get out of control fast.

You know what I’m talking about; you go nuts shopping for your friends and loved ones. Maybe you end up slightly over-budget each year in an effort to make sure you get everyone something (not to mention, the sales give you a reason to purchase a few things for yourself).

And sometimes, it’s easy to revert to the idea that more is better.

But is it?

Perhaps this year you’ve decided something has to change. You want to partake in more mindful holiday shopping. No purchasing useless items that no one will ever look twice at after Christmas. No more trying to outspend everyone else. No more giving in to the sales and buying “stuff” you don’t necessarily need.

No more “more is better.”

But wait one second - how do you actually do that?

We’ve got you. Here are our six tips to help you instill a little bit of mindfulness when it comes to your holiday shopping this year.

6 Ways to Be a Mindful Shopper This Holiday Season

1. Make a List

This sounds simple enough. You make a list, go out shopping (or online shopping), and only purchase what’s on your list. You stick to the plan, avoiding temptation like that stylish sweater that’s 50% off but is screaming your name.

You don’t need it. Stick to that list.

The goal of making a list is intention.

It forces you to take the time to really think about what you’re buying versus aimlessly buying whatever happens to catch your eye. This helps you veer away from unnecessary consumerism and think about if you actually need each item.

If you intend to get each loved one a gift, this list can help you budget and figure that all out. It can also save you time (planners love planning for this very reason).

Plus, let’s face the facts: One special and meaningful gift far outweighs five useless ones.

2. Consider Homemade Gifts

I get it. We aren’t all gifted with superior crafting talents or baking talents! But I bet you’ve got something to offer.

Whether it’s your signature fudge, your peanut butter cookies, or a woodworking piece of art, sometimes just the care, effort, and time that’s been put into a gift is enough to really mean something to someone else. I know some of the best gifts I’ve received have been homemade Christmas cookies, hand-knit scarves, a homemade mug, and a crochet blanket.

Think about it.

Do you remember the last time someone did something like that for you? It makes you feel cared for and thought of. It’s a good feeling. And that’s kind of what the holidays are supposed to be about anyway!

3. Shop Local

Local items often have that magic touch; you just can’t find them in a larger store.

For instance, one of our local shops makes coasters of the different neighborhoods across the city. I’ve given these coasters as gifts many times to friends and family that lived in said neighborhoods. It’s so custom and almost too perfect!

You can also get items that you just can’t get anywhere else, such as a cheese board handcrafted by a local woodworking duo or a special candle with a scent like no other. These are often simple gifts, and you can rest assured that when you’re doing your mindful shopping for gifts like this, the receiver very much appreciates them.

Another great reason to shop local?

This pandemic has hit many of our local businesses quite hard as they struggle to keep their doors open. When you purchase something from a local shop, you are also supporting that particular business in our current economy.

Read this one next: How to Not Freak Out About Your Finances This Holiday Season

4. Go Beyond Material Gifts

Why not give your loved ones the gift of time and the gift of an experience this year?

Something like a future spa day, a future trip, or even a card with an outline of planned activities where you can spend time together is truly a beautiful gift and something they will remember.

Personally, I’m a huge sucker for these types of gifts.

There isn’t anything more valuable than time, coupled with a beautiful experience. And when someone gives their time to you, that really means something.

5. Separate “Wants” from “Needs”

A whopping 68% of choices consumers make are made as they are purchasing their items.

Yup, this is where impulse shopping takes place and where you try to dodge temptation at every turn. There are those new earrings on the counter. There’s the cute scrunchie on the rack while you wait in line.

It’s all so tempting.

But here’s where your mindful holiday shopping gap comes into play. Ask yourself: Do you actually need this item? What is its purpose?

By asking yourself these questions, you might just realize that it’s not worth it. You’ll be able to reel in your desire and impulses.

If this doesn’t work, the next best thing is to stick to the timing rule.

This means that no matter what item you are considering purchasing, you give yourself 24 hours. If you’re still thinking about that item 24 hours later, consider whether you need it then - when you’re not at the cash register and under pressure.

6. Plan Throughout Your Year

It might be a little late this year for this one, but you can use this mindful holiday shopping tip for 2021.

Bring that holiday mindfulness with you year-round, and get ahead.

Here’s how you do it: When you think of a gift for someone, write it down. Or when you see an ideal gift for someone, get it then. You’ll be ready to go come the holidays without stress or panic.

You’ll have (hopefully) done all your holiday shopping mindfully when you put this tip into practice! It pays to pay attention to your friends and family as they describe their wants and needs in life. You can get so many ideas.

This is all about being more mindful in the moment, meaning you have to actively listen to what other people are saying (no distractions like cellphones allowed!).

Not only will this bring you closer to those you love, but you’ll also be able to rack up a ton of meaningful gift ideas for the people you care the most about, rather than frantically asking for a Christmas list to be written up a few weeks before the holiday. That’s a serious win - for you and them.

It’s Time for Mindful Holiday Giving

Take these tips and use them to give meaningful gifts this year. Plan ahead or think of non-materialistic ideas. Instill meaning back into giving this holiday season. After all, isn’t that what the holidays are supposed to be about?

Doing so will bring you closer to the people you love. And with those types of close relationships, life has so much more meaning and purpose. It can propel you forward in so many ways and supply you and others with so much happiness.

Take those first steps and go forth as a mindful holiday shopper!

Related article: What You Should Do Over the Holidays to Improve Your Mental Health

Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden

"Believing in yourself is really half the battle," says Krista. Anything is possible and you really can achieve anything you set your mind to, is her motto. Physiotherapist, Piano player, skydiver, yogi, adventure traveler and energetic force of positivity, Krista is herself a (delightful) force to be reckoned with! As... Read More

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