Have yourself a crafty Christmas

If you're anything like me, the onset of consumer-driven holidays such as Black Friday or Boxing Day may leave you conflicted.

On one hand, I genuinely appreciate a good deal. Whether it's doing my grocery shopping at Costco or making my own coffee, I'd do almost anything to save a buck. On the other hand, I vehemently oppose holidays rooted in crass consumerism. While I used to feel isolated in these beliefs, it seems that mainstream pop culture is starting to catch on — or, at least, it did for a moment.

I first noticed this shift earlier this year when “de-influencing” — the act of discouraging people from buying products — was trending. This was a stark departure from what I saw on social media: YouTubers and Instagram influencers posing with ceramic pans or showcasing the latest Skims collection.

However, this micro-trend in a sea of shifting audience preferences vanished as quickly as it arrived. Now that it's socially acceptable to decorate for Christmas, "influencing" is back, stronger than ever. Just hop onto any social media platform, and you'll be inundated with the latest Christmas items you supposedly "have to have” — from Home Depot's viral Christmas Tree (who knew a Christmas tree could go viral?) to CVS's Snoopy plush toy in a puffer jacket being resold for double the price. This holiday season, there's no shortage of stuff.

While the typical holiday spending sentiment often goes unchecked, a new trend seems to be emerging: the concept of "Crafty Christmas." This style of celebration aims to reject the conventional "Consumerism Christmas" and embraces a gift-giving style based on homemade items and crafts. While homemade gift-giving is not a novel concept, the motivations behind it are. There seems to be a growing proportion of Gen Zers who are accustomed to viewing social media as just another means to sell you more things but are growing weary of swiping past ad after ad after ad. "Crafty Christmas" was born from this discontent, with certain influencers sharing videos of DIY projects such as homemade orange garlands or handmade soaps.

With reports of a cool-down in consumer spending coming out of last week's Black Friday, I imagine more people will forgo store-bought gifts — not out of protest, but out of necessity.

So, if you're still unsure about what to get Mom this holiday season, might I suggest the very original — and not at all cliche — hottest gift of the year? Give the gift of a coupon book with desirable redemptions such as "doing the dishes" or breakfast in bed. 

Morgan Foster is a graduate student at the Nicholas School for the Environment. Her column typically runs on alternate Fridays.


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