With the shopping frenzy of the coming winter holidays, the focus for many people is stronger than ever on the material nature of this reality and disconnection from their true selves. The infectious mentality and the addictive behavior to shop, and the illusion that somehow “stuff” will bring happiness and fulfillment create perfect distractions and numb the human mind away from conscious and creative living.

To overcome the spell of materialism and its addictive properties, stay present and stay mindful. Think for yourself. Don’t get wrapped up in a scarcity mentality, illusive obligations, or fall for the marketing hype that attempts to win while you and our Earth lose. Remember what you already know.

Consider the impact that all this “stuff” has on your life and on our Earth. How many resources are wasted so that we can bring home more plastics, more chemicals, more junk, more clutter, and more disposable things? How many people have to work in unbearable conditions in other parts of the world so that we can have all this “stuff”? How much do you have to work to buy “stuff”, instead of taking action to free yourself from financial stresses to truly live?

Get creative instead, and put a new plan into action. If you choose to or “have to” buy gifts for others at this time of the year, consider how you can change those from material gifts to experiential gifts, from mind-numbing gifts to educational gifts, from obligatory gifts to “for-the-love-of-doing-it” gifts. Consider how you can bring real value to the lives of your loved ones.

We don’t need more stuff. What we do need is more love, more understanding, more patience, more presence, and more meaning in our lives.