Christmas is a huge catalyst to economic growth because of the hefty amounts that consumers spend on holiday gifts. In the United States alone, the season generates more than $3 trillion in retail industry sales. The celebration of Christmas has evolved into large-scale consumerism, which can put us in danger of equating our enjoyment of the season with the amount of gifts we receive.


(Pixabay / pixel2013)

There’s a way to pull out of the Christmas-commercialization vortex, though, by recognizing that the things that make the holidays the most memorable aren’t always those things that you can buy. Consider these tips for adding joy to your Christmas without breaking the bank:

  • Write a letter – Your family members and friends in far away places will appreciate your sending them presents. However, writing a meaningful letter, expressing your love and gratitude may lift their spirit even more than any material gift. It’s also a great idea to send letters and cards to military members who are deployed for the holiday.
  • Go caroling – Gather your family and friends and spread the Christmas joy by singing carols at a local hospital or nursing home. It’s tough to be lonely for the holidays. Your presence can be a big blessing.
  • Invite guests – Do you know someone who may be spending Christmas alone? Brighten their holiday, and invite them to spend the day with you.
  • Head to the kitchen – Cook or bake in the kitchen with your loved ones. If you have kids, you can start them early working in the kitchen. They’ll pick up new skills, and you’ll make memories.
  • Prepare a gift box – Many charitable organizations need Christmas donations of food, clothes, or toys. Prepare a box of needed items and drop it at the nearest collection area. You’ll feel happier knowing that you filled a need.
  • Invite your neighbors – Christmas is sharing. Invite your neighbors over to share drinks and appetizers. It’s a great way to make them feel more welcome in the area and strengthen your friendship.
  • Start a Christmas tradition – Start a service-based annual tradition for your family. You can visit a nearby nursing home each year, take cookie plates to neighbors, or give anonymous “Christmas Fairy” gifts to a family in need. Who knows? The tradition may continue for generations to come.

It’s often good for the soul to step away from the materialism of Christmas. It can help relieve holiday stress and lend added purpose and fulfillment to the holiday.