try crying

A response to someone having a hard time breaking out of Christmas consumerism because of family expectations...

You know what I found that works? Tears.

I remember one year when I was a teenager, out shopping for Christmas gifts with my mom, having a hard time making myself pick out just the right thing (which I wasn't good at) for people who really didn't need anything anyway. I got increasingly frustrated and unhappy, until I finally just stopped in the middle of the mall. I looked around at everyone else rushing around under the Christmas gift-giving pressure, and I started crying. When my mom showed up I sobbed, "It's just all so bad!"

We had a talk about it and she never pressured me about gifts at Christmas again. Years later, I'm completely out. No one expects a gift from me and no one seems to mind, it's just accepted. I came up with lots of arguments against our Christmas gift-giving traditions, but I don't harp on those any more. I usually just write a Christmas haiku, my own little tradition (like this one) and send it to friends and family. That's it. Not a problem any more.

Seriously, tears work.