If something in the pit of your stomach is uneasy about the commercialization of the holiday season, spiritual leaders recommend you go a little easier on yourself. The fact of material abundance is not the problem, they say, but our emotional attachment to it is.

The material wealth put on display during the holiday season, when many relationships are unfortunately mediated by kind and manner of gift, is not necessarily a bad thing. Indeed material wealth has lifted millions of people out of poverty. The modern era has been so abundant that Bill Gates predicts by 2035, no country will be poor in the conventional sense. 

For many of us, the stress of buying gifts can overwhelm the joys of family relationships, charity, and celebration. In his Big Think interview, spiritual leaders Andrew Cohen recommended coaching yourself to take a different mental approach toward material goods:

The social pressure to acquire material goods commensurate with our overabundant way of life can result in disagreements over how to spend money, and once the money is spent, the satisfaction derived from a purchase fades quickly.

So rather than buy a new kitchen countertop, say behavioral experts, invest in experience. Take a trip with a loved one or invite friends to a night at the theater. These experiences continue to pay dividends in the form of stronger human relationships and lasting memories.

Read more at the New York Times

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