I’m over this consumerism thing...
A couple of weeks before we left GA I got a head start on packing. I went through all my clothes first. I’m slightly embarrassed to say I still have some things I used to wear back in college. I graduated 5 years ago and if you saw some of the stuff I wore back then you would agree it should be long gone.
I move quite often and whenever I do I fake purge my closet and dresser.
"Haven't worn this in 3 years."
*Hold it up and give it a real good look. *Shrugs* *Place in the trash or donation pile*
5 minutes later....
"Actually I can still fit this. I might want to wear it again."
*Put back on a hanger*
This is usually how it goes so be proud of me because I legit purged this time. Three full trash bags of clothes, one for Goodwill, one for the thrift store, and one for trash. I repeated the process for a bunch of stuff sitting in the attic that I actually planned to list on eBay 8 months prior and never did. Guess I didn't want the money that bad. Oh well.
I have had a few brief conversations with my husband about minimalism in the past and I’ve witnessed the power that stuff can have over a person. So at some point during this whole process of preparing to move I asked my husband how he feels about living a minimalist lifestyle, 'cause we had movers coming and this was still a royal pain in the ass.
Now I’m not into extreme minimalism where I can fit all of my belongings into one duffel bag. I’ll leave that to somebody else. But I am tired of holding onto things that we don’t use or don’t have a real purpose for. I have moved every year, sometimes twice within a 12 month period since I left home for college. And every time I move I am more and more frustrated with how much I have to pack and go through. Like why do I have scholarly articles in print from grad school that I will never read again? Oh right, because I told myself that information might be useful at some point during my career. Never cracked open that box of articles, ever, at any point in time since I walked across the stage.
The whole time I'm packing I'm contemplating this whole minimalism thing and then I’m like "f*ck, Christmas is coming."
Every year multiple people gift me the scented lotions and shower gels. Every year I tell everyone to PLEASE not buy me that stuff. I have enough to last me a few years from stockpiling the free products my husband used to bring home from his previous job. No one listens. They buy it anyway. So then it all sits on a shelf or in a box while I continue to buy my regular bar soap because that’s what I use.
Wasted money. That’s what Christmas is. Wasted money. I looked at my mother this year and said in the most serious tone and with the most serious face "DO NOT GET ME ANY LOTIONS OR SHOWER GELS, OR GAG GIFTS THIS YEAR" in my all caps voice. I guess I'll find out tomorrow if she understood this time.
I need for people to do me like I do them. I ask people exactly what they want and I get exactly what they asked for or some variation if I don't already have an idea of what I'd like to buy for them. I actually really love buying gifts for others, not just for holidays, although that’s when it mostly happens. And I am very thoughtful about the gifts I give. I really try to think about who that person is, their style, their interests, and buy something I feel that they would love and/or need.
Well as of about a week before Christmas the only person’s gift I had bought was my husband’s. I had zero motivation to go out and shop. I don’t know what happened to me but over the past 2 years I have progressively hated shopping more and more as time has passed, even when it comes to shopping for myself. It's not fun. It's a chore. But my mother needed to do some Christmas shopping on her day off and I accompanied her.
First stop: Kohl’s. After being in the baby clothes section at Kohl's for 30+ minutes I just couldn’t take it anymore. I needed to get out. And the lines. Golly, the lines!! Why and how do people do this every year? I was appreciating online shopping a whole lot more at that moment. I didn’t make a purchase and I couldn’t go in another store. I made my mom take me home.
Moving and minimalism ruined my Christmas spirit.
I am just not that into it this year. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. Maybe it’s because my younger siblings don’t live with my mom anymore and so by default this holiday season feels different. Maybe it’s because I’ve been slowly straying away from consumerism for a while now. I actually just realized that my husband and I didn’t get each other valentines gifts this past year. I don’t remember us even going out to eat for dinner. We didn’t purchase each other wedding or birthday gifts either. Hmmm, It could be my memory, or maybe the gifts were just that bad that I.... never mind.
Although I feel like a Grinch, this new mindset made me start thinking about the traditions I want to establish moving forward if or when I have children someday. I definitely want to do it like my husband's family. They give each other only 1-2 gifts. The focus is on spending time with family and that’s what I want. I have everything I need and more so I think I’d rather give more abundantly to those whose needs are not met. I want my future children to be givers, not takers. You hear about parents asking their children to pick out a toy they don’t want or play with anymore so it can be donated to kids who don't have any. And their child(ren) ends up choosing their favorite toy that they play with daily to give away. I want to raise kids like that! Maybe certain years instead of exchanging gifts we will take a trip during the holidays and unplug from normal life. Or pass out hot cocoa and a warm meal to the homeless.
I don’t know. These are just some ideas I haven’t fully thought out yet. But they all seem better than spending butt loads of money on things that will get played with for 3 days then put on a shelf next to the collection of dust bunnies.
Has anyone else had this experience during the holidays? Or am I just a Scrooge this year?