Holiday Hypnosis

Who doesn’t like to take advantage of holiday sales?

We all know they’re coming. And not only do they help stretch our holiday dollars, but it’s also an opportunity to purchase something for ourselves, maybe something we’ve had our eye on for a while. In fact, this year, 56% of holiday shoppers plan to take advantage of sales and discounts and spend an average of $132 on items for themselves.

The sheer volume of messages we receive around the holidays creates a kind of holiday hypnosis which does very little to contribute to our wellbeing. It’s easy to get caught up in the relentless offers of 30% and 40% off. And with the ability that companies have to micro target us with very specific product recommendations, it makes it that much more difficult to stop and ask, “do I really need this?”

I was in just such a holiday hypnosis (needs vs. wants dilemma), when I received an email from Jenna, a millennial living in the Midwest.

She was writing to her family and friends to share the story of a single mother with three children from her community. The woman and her children are living in an abandoned trailer and have no water or electricity. They were able to make-do during the summer and fall, but with no heat source inside the trailer, the winter is looking perilous for them. With no transportation, she has been unable to find work to come up with the $300 for a propane tank to heat the trailer.

Jenna was reaching out to her family and friends to ask for contributions of $10 to help purchase the propane tank for the family. Jenna would cover any balance, as well as, purchase and deliver the propane tank. This would provide heat to last the family through the majority of the winter.

In the midst of the holiday hypnosis email barrage the one I received from Jenna was a sobering reminder that a small, generous action may truly change and even save someone's life. And while I have the ability to contemplate holiday deals, many others are struggling to provide the basic essentials for their family.

December is a wonderful time to seize the moment and look out into the world for opportunities to share our time and financial resources with others.

When we choose to be generous not only will it enhance our wellbeing, but we can also make a significant difference in the life of someone in our community.

Gotta Have it Now: In store Thanksgiving and Black Friday revenues this year were $12.1 billion in stores, with digital sales reaching $4 billion, up 20 % from 2014 –ShopperTrak and comScore

Talk About It: Contact a local nonprofit and find out what you can do to help someone this holiday season.

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