We live in a small and cramped space. Some days, it feels very, very cramped. We already have too much stuff and too little space that is too poorly designed.
So, here comes the holidays. Society expects us to celebrate them with gifts to each other.
What do you give someone when you know that there is no room for it? When you can’t afford to spend money frivolously nor use space frivolously?
So big screen TVs are big this year? So what, we don’t watch TV and we certainly have no place to put one, except maybe mounting it to the ceiling. What would we do with it if we did buy it?
A pair of slippers? Try finding them in size 14 just before Christmas. Like today, when I finally got a chance to even go to the store.
The reality is that we just could not get into exchanging gifts this year. Oh, we’re not scrooges, by any means. We are giving a few gifts, to our son in law & daughter & granddaughter, to a few close friends…but not a lot, and nothing expensive. GM & I are just not exchanging gifts, having decided we’d hit the post-holiday sales for necessities and get more for our limited dollars. We hit the “Black Friday” sales too–but it yielded a couple of pairs of jeans for GM, a jacket for me, and the pre-Black Friday sales got us a replacement printer that we still haven’t scraped enough room together to set up.
So I just got GM a big block of cheese, some Ritz crackers and some Conecuh sausage. Hidden away, there is his Santa gift, which I’m not going to say what is here, just in case he reads the blog tonight. He does things like that, mostly because he is my biggest fan. But it isn’t expensive by any means. Buying a burger is probably more expensive.
I know he feels bad because he’s not had time to go shopping for me, but what could he buy me anyhow? I consider the amount of work he is putting into replacing the head gasket on our van to be the best present ever–he’s saving us about $1200 that we could not afford to spend.
Our other big Christmas deal? I’ll make him some toffee tomorrow. That will keep him smiling until New Year’s Day, because it is is absolute favorite candy. It probably doesn’t hurt that I make it for him…once a year.
Our Christmas will start with the arrival of our daughter to pick us up and carry us to their house for the day, so we can enjoy family (read “Grand Daughter here) and have dinner before driving us back home again. That in itself is an act of devotion, as it adds a total of about two hours to their day because of the distance involved. I bought the most ridiculous giant stuffed pony for the baby–it’s about 3 feet long! Along with a baby book that is being mail ordered and will not arrive before the big day, that’s her gifts. I’m not going to list the parental gifts since Miss Muffet (mama) has a knack of finding out what she has for gifts beforehand.
I guess, over time, I have learned…to give when the opportunity presents itself rather than reserving the gifting for one day a year. Why wait if its something they need or would enjoy? What if something happens and you can’t give it to them later? Give it now!
For me, Christmas is about small gifts of appreciation rather than a major gifting event. I have never believed in going into debt to buy gifts either. I’d rather give 100 days of the year and enjoy that thrill of seeing someone totally enthralled with something rather than giving once a year and having to wait for that thrill.
Stuff and serious consumerism isn’t our style anymore. We’re giving things that are smaller, barring that ridiculously cute stuffed pony. Most of our gifts are necessities or consumables, like cookies and coffee. Many things are handmade or homemade. We don’t need a bunch of trinkets and baubles, small appliances, and gizmos. We sure don’t have room for ugly sweaters, itchy socks, and smelly perfumes. Our friends and family doesn’t either. Why should we support excessive consumerism, when we can’t afford it and oppose its commercial ideology?
Don’t get me wrong, I believe in free enterprise. I just don’t agree with the consumption of mass quantities of STUFF for no reason at all. Do you really need that? How will it improve your life? Can you afford to own it, in terms of carbon cost and dollars?
Living small means changing a lot more than the size of your home. It means changing the way we all think. What better time to start than at the holiday season?