Dec 4, 2009

My need for less

Bear with me if you will while I share a few thoughts on the subject of needing less. This has been on my mind for a while and I just need to say what I need to say.
When I was a child I remember getting pretty much everything I could have wanted for Christmas. There are only 2 distinct times that I can remember being disappointed and the reasons were not reasonable by any means. We always had a ton at Christmas and I never had a reason to feel like I wanted more. In fact I sometimes wished I had gotten less. I went through this phase of wanting to have lots of presents to open. I didn't care if they were expensive or not I just wanted lots of things with my name on them. Must not have been getting enough attention or something. So if I was getting socks then I wanted each pair wrapped separately so I would have lots to open. This always meant that I was left opening gifts long after everyone else was done. And because my parents always went all out I always had a heaping pile at Christmas. This was nice for a while but then when my friends would call or we'd talk at church or school and compare Christmas gifts I felt embarrassed at how much I had got when I knew they hadn't got nearly as much and I never fully admitted what I had received. As I became a teenager the practice of wrapping all the presents individually stuck; not by my request mind you, and I still got a ton of stuff but I wished for less and began to dislike being the last one opening gifts. That is not to say I wasn't grateful for all my family did, it just didn't feel right to me. I just didn't feel like I needed as much as I was getting. I found myself wanting to give more to those in need, and I worried that my parents (my mom in particular) were spending more money on me than they needed to and I wished they were saving some of it for themselves or someone else. (I always worried about my parents money situation though there was never any indication of needing too). I still feel that way.
Fast forward to the present. As Christmas approaches I find myself still wishing for less. I just don't feel like I need a ton of stuff to make me happy or my children happy. First off our house is overcrowded as it is. We don't have an empty cupboard, closet, or counter. There is stuff everywhere. I find myself moving piles from one spot to another but never really getting stuff put away. I try and go through things and get rid of stuff as often as possible (especially when my husband is not home. P.S. Honey, I took stuff to the thrift store today) but more stuff just seems to appear. We are blessed with extremely generous family members but I overwhelmed with what to do with all the stuff they keep giving. I say, "she doesn't need that," or "we just don't have room," or "we don't have a place to put it," and yet stuff keeps coming. I don't want my daughters to grow up expecting that they are going to get a ton of stuff for Birthdays and Christmas. We want to teach our kids that there is so much that they can give and not to focus on receiving. My thought is, "does it mean that you love someone any less to give them a couple or even one well thought out gift(s) instead of present after present?" Just because there are 15 items on the idea list doesn't mean we need them all. I saw on a blog an idea for giving gifts at Christmas. In this family they gave three gifts: a need, a want and a treasure. I love that idea. I just want to simplify. I just want less. I want to spend less, get less, have less stuff. I want to feel okay about giving less too. I want to feel freedom to get rid of stuff we don't use even if someones grandma made it or it was a prized possession of another family member. I want some space in this house and in my refrigerator. I want to have a simple Christmas morning. I want to know that when I say, "this is what I really want for Christmas and that is it," that that will be acceptable. I don't need 79 million little packages to open up anymore. Yes, I am asking for good Kosher salt for Christmas but that is something that I really want and need and a canner too. People keep saying they don't know what to get sweet pea for Christmas. I say, "nothing," she is a month old. She doesn't need anything. And small fry won't know the difference if she has 5 things to open or 25. I want to establish traditions, enjoy family, give as much as we can possibly afford to others in town and simplify, simplify, simplify. What I am trying to say is that I have always felt like it is the thought that counts not the amount. I won't feel any less loved with less stuff.
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  1. Thanks for this. One thing that a child loves is so much better than a dozen things that will wind up in the trash or at Goodwill. Good luck with your resolve!

  2. I love your post, and totally agree. Thanks for the reminder. I think that it is a great idea to focus more on family Christmas traditions, and not the present part. I was wondering if you could share some of your families' Christmas traditions. I want to create some more of my own family traditions, and it would be great to have some new ideas. That is really what I remember as a kid, the traditions that we did as a family, not the presents that I received. Thanks!!!

  3. your post made my heart happy!

  4. Your post made me feel guilty for wanting to give as much as I possibly can. I love giving to everyone, especially my children. It always gave me so much pleasure, kinda like an extra present for me was to give to others.
    I appreciate how you feel, it is good.

  5. Well said. I agree completely.

  6. Amen! I appreciated your post.

  7. Love it! And, I felt like I could have written most of it so you know I am with you on this!

    I am an avid reader of your blog and appreciate your thoughts and ideas!



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