I hadn’t put it in so many word before, but “Shop less…enjoy it more!” is certainly the way we have been operating lately. Without feeling that we are denying ourselves anything (Heck, we spent 3 weeks in Sicily this summer) we have found ourselves buying less and less. Perhaps we are lucky in that we don’t feel a compelling need for the huge flat screen TV or the $50k luxury car, so we don’t pine after them like some might. We spend our time looking for good fun, good friends and generally, a good time. This can mean having friends over for dinner, holding our annual Cookie Party or hosting a Live reading of A Christmas Carol, as we have done for the past 6 years.
Flipping through the Black Friday flyers and other advertisements is interesting these days. They don’t call out to me as much as they once did. If anything, I am looking for the “loss leader” sales items I can snag at a discount — hard drives, software, flash drives, etc. I flip by the big flashy items without a second thought. Maybe we have finally figured out the difference between what we NEED and what we want. We also think much more deeply about how a particular items will work in our home, home much we will actually use it and if there are simpler or cheaper alternatives.
Even more, I find that our friends are “Shopping less…enjoying more!” too. There is no grand conspiracy among us to consume less, but perhaps we are simply growing older. Once your basic needs are met, how much do you really need to consume? I will never be some flashy neighbor “Jones” that all my neighbors feel they have to keep up with. Even more, I don’t try to keep up with the Jones’ in my neighborhood either. Life is too short to constantly be comparing yourself to others. Heck, you will probably feel you don’t measure up anyway, so why even try. (The fact is, we always underestimate our own wealth, happiness and success, so it isn’t a fair comparison anyway.)
So, what are you NOT going to buy this year? What special items will you buy? Will you really use them often? Will they bring a special enjoyment? If so, go for it. It is ok to buy something you will deeply enjoy. If not, wait for a while and see if that purchase surfaces on your “To Buy” list again. It might and you can reevaluate it at that time.
As my own example, I bought, of all things, an ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer this year. For me, though, this fits right in with our recent dedication to “make it your” ethic in the kitchen. Instead of going out and buying a huge tub of ice cream, I make one pint of whatever flavor I want right here at home. It limits how much I can consume (which is always a good thing for me (LAUGH) ), it matches my personal preferences about food and it is dramatically cheaper than the store-bought brands. Instead of a half-gallon of air-filled processed ingredients, I get ice cream that is a deeply rich, made of simple ingredients and as fresh as it can be. You don’t want more than a scoop or so of this ice cream as it is amazingly rich and filling.
So, there is one item I wanted and will continue to use for years to come. Not a bad deal, I think.
I wish you the best holiday season possible. Fill it with friends, family, happiness and joy — and yes, a few cool things you really want. You don’t have to stop buying, just “shop less and enjoy it more!