How to Avoid the Holiday Shopping Hoopla

How to Avoid the Holiday Shopping Hoopla Feature Image

One time in college, I thought it would be cool to do the whole outlet mall at the crack of dawn on Black Friday thing.

I convinced my boyfriend and my brother to tag along so we chugged some coffee after Thanksgiving dinner and then hit the road for what I thought would be a fabulous, bargain-filled, holiday shopping experience.

Let’s go to the outlets! we said. It will be fun! we said.


So wrong. And the event that commenced my long-time loathing for both Black Friday and outlet malls.

Hordes of people, trampling each other just to stand in line to GET IN to the stores. Oh man, what a nightmare! When I think about it now, it’s insane. I mean really, who drives an hour and a half to stand in line for hours to get into stores – all between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m.? That makes me so tired.

If you enjoy hitting the outlets over the holidays, or any mall for that matter, then you have much greater shopping stamina than I do. More power to you.

But if, like me, you love the holidays but just don’t have the energy to deal with the shopping bullshit, then maybe we can figure out an alternative.

Because the fact is, holiday “deals” aren’t actually deals at all. Not trying to go all Grinch on you here, but I’ve been working in marketing for awhile now and trust me when I say these are strategically planned campaigns, designed to take advantage of our impulsive consumption habits. The “limited time offers!” get us in the door, and then we end up spending more money than we intended. How many times have you gone Christmas shopping for others and wound up buying a bunch of stuff for yourself as well? Pretty sure I’ve ended up with a cart full of cable knit sweaters on more than one occasion because they were, you know, “great deals”. 

So how do we create a more meaningful season, without getting stressed? How can we truly celebrate, and not just survive the holidays?

It’s what I’m trying to figure out this December. How to simplify it all.

Here are a few ways I’ve attempted it so far: 

  1. I’ve been avoiding Black Friday since that dreaded trip to the outlets, but I didn’t drop a dime online this year either, which I’m pretty proud of.
  2. I convinced my family to go for a minimalist Christmas – no filling stockings just to fill them and no buying presents just to buy them. We don’t need anything anyway, and the best part of the holidays is spending time together. So we each pulled a name and will give one (intentional) gift, Secret-Santa style. I’m pretty jazzed about focusing on what matters this year and not getting caught up in the grand charade that gift giving has become.
  3. As for my gifting, I’m going with experiences > things. I put some serious thought into what my “giftees” would love and could use. It feels good to be intentional about it, and not spend just to spend. Most of the people I’m gifting are gainfully employed adults, which means they are capable of buying their own clothes, decorative household items and candy canes.

Any other ideas for having a simple, meaningful holiday season? Tell me below, I’d love to hear!


Author Bridget

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