Monday, December 6, 2010

Buy Nothing Christmas?

    So living this life of simplicity, we are encouraged to participate in “Buy nothing Christmas” where instead of spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on expensive, not really needed gifts, we focus more on the family and spending time with each other.  Now granted, living on a $105 a month leads me to want to celebrate Christmas this way, because let’s face it, I can afford to show up to family events and that’s about it. 
                My question isn’t really should we spend lots of money, but should we spend the time to go out there, face those malls from hell, search with all of our might, and end up with a present that you know the person you are buying for will just adore?  Why yes, I don’t see the harm in this.
Don’t worry, I love homemade gifts too, (this isn’t a gift registry blog, don’t worry!) they make me feel all warm inside to know my loved ones worked hard (and thought ahead, which is something I’m not so good at).  But to no avail, homemade gifts can cost just as much as a gift plucked from the aisles at Tar-jay.
So stuck in this conundrum of materialist woe, what as consumers are we supposed to do with this commercial holiday where gift giving is the American version of a prophet being born?  I could throw in cheesy slogans like shop smart, not hard; be thrifty and nifty, etc.  In reality, just buy stuff the person needs.  Not needs like I need a new corvette, but like need as in my last pair of socks have a hole in them, I guess I should get a new pair (in my case tights).
 I look around my bedroom sometimes and feel that I have a lot of “stuff” and I can tell you exactly where I got it and usually how much I paid for it, especially if it was on “sale”.   Don’t worry I’m not getting rid of any of it to join a commune, but it’s just interesting think about our thought process of “need”.  Though I adore every shoe in my shoe collection, each a reminder of the hard work I put in to be able to afford the beautiful artwork I put on my feet, would my life be any different if I hadn’t bought those particular pair of pumps? Probably not.  Would I buy them all over again? Heck yes.
So this Christmas, one of financial scarcity (though even in good financial times we believe this to be true), my goal is to focus on needs, not  wants, because in reality, our wants will change in a month anyways, right?  Then again who am I to talk, with $105 a month, I need everything! J  Or I could pull out my business side (the one that’s torn every time some preaches their anti-consumerist ideals) and say go shopping, spend lots of money and help our economy, gosh darn it!
So pick and choose who you are this holiday season, the only answer I can come up with this war of morals, is to choose wisely.  Great advice, huh?  I feel like Yoda.