A Very Merry Anti-Consumerist Christmas

Better Memories, Less Waste

Between presents for family and friends, trees, and travel costs, Christmas can be insanely expensive. According to the National Retail Federation’s holiday spending forecast, spending will be up approximately 4.3 percent over 2018 and 4.8 percent over 2017— costing well over $700 billion.

Consumers say they will spend an average of $1,000 during the holiday season this year. All of those mountains of gifts, wrapping supplies, and discarded trees share the same fate: they will eventually make their way to our landfills, where they will slowly rot and produce greenhouse gas.

It’s estimated that each year the U.S. produces 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Among all the garbage are an average 15 million Christmas trees, $11 billion in packaging materials, and enough ribbon to wrap around the planet.

While bargain signs and discount prices beg you to buy, buy, buy, consider making a change this holiday season by choosing from the alternatives laid out in this Very Merry Anti-Consumerist Christmas Guide.

Reduce Costs with Handmade Gifts
While travel costs are somewhat inevitable for those venturing home, one way to reduce expenses is by making handmade gifts. Bust out Youtube and learn how to crochet a beanie, or turn something at home into a blank canvas fit for beautiful art.

Another trick is reusing paper bags, cereal boxes, and shoe boxes to wrap your presents. Brown may not be the most festive color, but when you decorate it with craft supplies from home, the end result can be both personal and unique.

Gift an Experience
If you can’t resist the urge to spend money, give the gift of experience. Local yoga studios offer great deals and packages with rates as low as $20. There’s plenty of studios in Corvallis to choose from: popular choices include Willamette Valley Power Yoga, the Yoga Studio of Corvallis, and Live Well Studio.

The holiday season can be tense – consider gifting a massage or a day at the spa from popular spots like Athena Bodywork, Epic Day Spa, or the Hive by Honeycomb. Alternately, choose from the many adventures that can be had in the Willamette Valley and surrounding areas. How does a trip to the creepy Shanghai Tunnels in Portland sound – where sailors were allegedly held captive and sold into servitude after being drugged at bars and hotels? How about a whitewater rafting trip, or hang gliding lessons from the Oregon Hang Gliding School in Corvallis?

If something indoors is more what you’re looking for, consider gifting tickets to a local theater or event. The well-loved Corvallis Comedy Night happens January 18 at the Majestic Theatre, featuring comedian Todd Barry. The Majestic’s Readers Theatre will also be airing The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde on December 28 and 29.

Tree Alternatives
While Christmas trees are a staple of the holidays, they are ultimately wasteful and time-consuming. Consider getting a living tree such as a Norfolk Island Pine. While smaller than your average pine tree, they can last for years with proper care and attention. The Leading Floral Company in Corvallis sells Norfolk Pines between $40 to $75.

It’s no secret, the waste crisis we are in as our consumer purchases litter the oceans and lands. Now, more than ever, it is important to be as low waste as possible, and Christmas is one of the most wasteful seasons. This year, invest in memories and handmade items your loved ones can cherish for a lifetime.

By: Laine Aswad