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5 Ways to Fight Consumerism this Christmas

December 11, 2009

Consumerism is the equation of personal happiness with consumption and the purchase of material possessions (Wikipedia). Consumerism reigns like a proud King in America. He’s captured hearts. Chained families to debt. Caused divorce. And has crept into churches.

But that’s not all. Consumerism is mainly an issue of the heart— the flesh’s desire for more, and a failure to trust in God to provide all things.

Here are five practical ways I’m trying to fight consumerism this Christmas:

1.) Remember former debt. It wasn’t a fun experience a few years ago paying off around $700.00 of credit card debt from Christmas time. (Thanks to Dave Ramsey, we cut our credit cards up so they no longer tempt us).

2.) Pray for a spirit-led shopping experience. Before I went out the other day I prayed that God would help me decide what I needed to get vs. what I wanted to get for other people. I  believe that prayer and being led by the Spirit helps keep me from over-spending.

3.) Accumulate experiences, not possessions (thanks Mark Batterson). I’ve tried to put relationships and time together with those closest to me in my life above accumulating stuff and things that don’t last.

4.) Be in authentic community. I’ve surrounded myself with friends who will ask me the hard questions. And they know our budget. While they don’t ask about this all the time, I know I have to be ready if they do.

5.) Give to those you know who are in need and love on them. This Christmas, we’ll be giving away some of the resources God’s given to us to certain family members who are struggling. Sometimes I think I’m only doing “good” if I give to a charity or other organization, but if a family member is in need- he or she really is who takes precedence.

Above all, the gospel is what transforms our hearts and keeps us from being led away by the desire for more. I’m thankful that as I daily surrender to the Spirit’s control, I can be victorious in the constant battle where consumerism tries to be King.

Have you thought of a plan of attack for fighting consumerism in the upcoming days?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Anna permalink
    December 11, 2009 10:27 am

    Have you checked out http://www.rethinkingchristmas.com ? Our church showed the video that is hosted on their site and it was really well done. I particularly like the graphics showing how much money it would take to provide clean water for the world (10 billion) and how much is spent on Christmas (450 billion.) And I think the 450 billion number is outdated now… it is even higher! My dad is out of work right now, and while my family is not nearly in poverty or close, we’re focusing on a ‘small’ Christmas that includes lots of handmade gifts. It’s really fun, actually!

  2. December 11, 2009 1:28 pm

    I have heard of it and I’ll check it out. It’s sometimes so overwhelming to think about those numbers and the impact we could be making. I know the Advent project with Chris Seay got a lot of attention last year and continues to. I really like what they’re doing. It’s such a powerful message.

    I am sorry to hear about your dad. We too, are focusing on a small Christmas and have some fun things to do together planned. I always tend to go with the gifts that have a personal touch (or are handmade)- they always seem to outlive everything else.

    Thanks Anna!

  3. December 14, 2009 2:49 pm

    Some great thoughts on this. In the first few year of our marriage, every Christmas was so frustrating, as it seemed like we were trying to trump last years gifts by buying more and more stuff.

    After reading the book “Skipping Christmas” (upon which the movie “Christmas With The Kranks” was based), I used our personal accounting software to calculate how much we were spending on Christmas gifts and all the related expenses. It was staggering. And our drive to beat the previous year was just going to push that number higher.

    Since then our family has moved toward a more experience based Christmas celebration instead of just giving and getting a bunch of gifts that end up turning into junk.

    We still exchange a few gifts, but every year around the holidays, we take some time to go on a family trip somewhere. Sure, we still spend money, but memories are something that don’t break and/or end up shoved in a closet somewhere.

    (Thanks for visiting my blog, by the way. I’m adding you to my feed reader).

  4. December 14, 2009 4:06 pm

    Thanks so much John. I can totally relate to your thoughts. I really like the experience based Christmas idea. I have been thinking on that for a while now.

    Glad you took time to share.

    I appreciate the add.

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