A minimalist Valentines and compulsory consumption

The idea of minimalism has become enormously popular throughout the last few years. Studies show that environmental issues and the desire to spend money on experiences rather than materials have put minimalism on the radar. But do we forget these factors during the holiday season? 

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, millions of dollars have already been spent on gifts that will end up in our landfills and do not align with our eco-friendly values. We tend to put spending on the front of our minds during these cheerful times, creating a path aligned with compulsory consumption. 

Let’s look at what compulsory consumption is and how to celebrate the holidays without compulsively spending.

What is compulsory consumption?

Compulsory consumption is when you buy new material things excessively to feel a sense of happiness. We often purchase things we don’t need because we want to fulfill a desire for the next trending thing. However, this often creates an unfulfilling life.

Compulsory consumption is not only burning a hole in your wallet but creating an abundance of waste. We are buying material things too fast for the planet to compete against. Statistically, human-made materials have surpassed natural objects. Infrastructure and buildings outweigh trees and shrubs 11,000 to 900 gigatonnes, and plastic outweighs animals 9 to 4 gigatonnes. While living organisms’ weight stays consistent, things that we produce double.

@etsy

How do holidays amplify compulsory consumption?

Ads, ads, ads. I always hear people say, “It was just Christmas, why am I already seeing commercials for Valentine’s day?!” Holidays, especially Valentine’s Day and Christmas, are the most marketable for companies. Valentine’s day is the most marketable of all the holidays because its creation stems from cheap consumerism. As I’m sure this does not come as a surprise to anyone, given that the most memorable gifts for Valentine’s day are cards, chocolates, flowers, colognes/ perfumes, and alcohol, most of the things we buy for this holiday are disposable. 

The trend of buying gifts that are disposable and wasteful starts with a lifestyle change. We can learn to change our spending mindset from a “trend perspective” to “do I actually need this?” and “is this sustainable?” perspectives. Don’t get me wrong; sometimes we want to buy that new swimsuit or those cute jeans, which is perfectly okay, as long as our spending isn’t compulsory. 

This lifestyle is not as cookie-cutter as it may seem. A great population of minimalists all live on very different spectrums of the minimalistic idea. The textbook definition of a minimalist lifestyle is essentially living with less and throwing out materials that do not serve any purpose in your life. The documentary ‘The Minimalists’ dives deeper into what this lifestyle looks like in different lives.

@thelittlemarket

How can I create a minimalist Valentine's Day? 

As hard as putting the words minimal and gifts together may seem, I have found it quite simple. Here is a list of gifts you could give to your Valentine(s):

  • framed picture(s), you can use vintage/thrifted frames to make your picture look super unique!
  • schedule a painting or pottery class; google any classes happening near you an pick up a new skill together!
  • handmade objects like pottery, glasswork, or a piece of artwork; by doing this, you can support local or small artists in your area and also own a piece that is custom made for you!
  • potted plant(s) ; you can check out our houseplants blog to find a plant that best suits what you are looking for in terms of what the plant provides for you and how the plant looks!
  • plant with Urban Leaf, a company that makes apartment gardening easy with specialized kits, or adopt a tree with The Garden, a six acre display of what water conservation can look like.
  • adopt a star with Star Register and receive a certificate, a star map, a space photobook, and more!
  • vintage jewelry from espiritutara, a conscious jewelry company. They craft healing jewelry that encourages self love and self power. Use Code CADA for a 15% off your purchase.
  • date night at your favorite local restaurant, or a home-cooked meal. Read our vegan fest blog to access a butternut carpaccio recipe!
  • sustainable clothing from Neu Nomads offers beautiful wardrobe staples at attainable price points sourced from a clean supply chain. They represent a brand in a time of global awareness and environmental consciousness.
  • any sustainable product! Read our blog on holistic gifts for affordable and sustainable gift ideas!

Having a minimalist Valentines? Tag us and let us know what you are doing to celebrate! After the holidays, continue to spend with a conscious and sustainable mind. Be sure to let us know how you are creating a lifestyle to fit your needs and happiness!