Several times recently I've caught sight of a cute bumper sticker on some cars in my town. It reads:
|MORE FUN, LESS STUFF|
The sign includes a pointer to the web site  of an outfit, "The Center for a New American Dream", that strives to help people break out of the overcommercialization of holidays and relationships. (The organization is aimed at "America" but I suspect is relevant throughout the (over)developed world.)
What a wonderful social movement this could become! I hope that it spreads --- so that friends and families can rediscover how to have richer lives together ... with less expense, less stress, and more simple joy.
Our family has been trying, in various small ways over the years, to recover from the "more stuff, less fun" syndrome. We give the kids modest gifts spread out over "Twelve Days of Christmas" rather than stage a one-night mega-blowout extravaganza. We hand-make cards for each other instead of buying them in stores. On birthdays we bake a simple cake at home and celebrate quietly with a few friends. It's a start, and it feels kinda nice ....