Monday, November 24, 2014

The STUFF. Stop Buying the Stuff!

Black Friday is this week. Uuugggghhhhh.

I've never enjoyed Christmas shopping. Wait -- no, that's a lie. I did enjoy it at one time, I think. Way back when. But it's been a long time. I don't much enjoy shopping in general, but particularly when I have something specific that I'm looking for, and that I have to get, and a lot of these types of items.

This year, there's even more to it. As I mentioned in my post about our trip to Fredericksburg, I'm increasingly finding myself disturbed by the excess and consumerism in our society. Good heavens -- the amount of crap we BUY!!! Really, it's shameful.

We have closets FULL of clothes, to the point that we literally could wear something different every day for weeks and never wear something twice, but we still pick up new stuff once a month or so while we're out looking around in the mall. (Well, some people do. I don't.)

We have kitchen cabinets crammed full of utensils and appliances that we rarely if ever use, but we still find something at the friend's Pampered Chef party that we think we just have to have. We have enough food items sitting on our pantry shelves to keep us from dying for, again, weeks if we needed to, yet we still bring an entire week's worth of food and more home every time we go to the grocery store -- and we probably throw out enough food in a week to keep a starving African child alive for a good long time.

The STUFF . . . just the random stuff that we keep buying because we think we need it -- it will change our life somehow -- it will give us that extra bit of spare time that we need to connect with our family -- it will add that touch of beauty or fun that will bring us joy in our homes -- it will give us health and strength and vitality as soon as we have the self-discipline to do something with it . . . oh, what sorry people we are. It's not magic, for Pete's sake, it's just stuff.

And more than that: we inflict this STUFF on the people we love. We give them more useless items to fill their spaces and fail to fill their voids. We even ask children (and some adults) to make lists for us of things that they want us to give them. Don't tell me you don't need anything -- Christmas is for things you want. Forget how content you feel in your current circumstances: dig deep, create a place of lacking in your life, and figure out something you want, gosh darn it!

My oldest struggles with the Christmas list her extended family requires of her every year. She doesn't need or want much of anything. She doesn't want to get excess junk. She genuinely would rather just have money to use when she needs to buy something later. This year, she put toys on her list that she wants to give to some children she knows who get little or nothing for Christmas. That way, she gets the fun of opening presents on Christmas day and also the joy of giving to someone else who genuinely appreciates it. And she doesn't have to find a place or use for stuff she never really wanted.

I'm proud of her. It remains to see how that will go over with the family.

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