As it does every Christmas season, the chattering begins about what to buy for Suzie and what to give to Auntie Lucie. The rush to buy, the stock to hide, the lists and more often than not, the stress. I understand the want to give, the excitement of receiving. But for so many the 'want' to give is replaced by the 'need' to give, to some or all of your circle of friends/family members.
I say Why? A dollar value should never be set for what a proper gift should be, a quantity should never be set on how many gifts to give to one person.
I don't want anyone to worry about what to give me. Nor do I want to worry about what to give someone else. When I sit down and think about the people on my list, I think of who they are and items come to mind. While walking by a shop window, something caught my eye and it strikes me as something perfect for that person on my list.
This year I want to help the environment with every gift I give. I want to help others take the step to help the environment. I am not thinking of what to give to Billy or Maggie. I am thinking about what I would like them to do for the environment this year. Small things I can present them with, with a card explaining a great idea for a New Years resolution. A compost bin with compostable liners! Why not, I know lots of people who might start composting if they were just given a little nudge in the right direction. A reusable coffee mug filled with info on how many paper coffee cups are thrown out every year.
We all have lots and lots of 'things' and yet we still want. This impulse is human nature, so it is up to us to discipline ourselves enough to know that we probably don't need all the things we want.
This is the first time I have worked in retail. Yesterday, like so many times before, I was blown away with how much selection and choice we have for practically every given item ever made. There will always be a newer, better, cooler thing. You already have a water bottle that works just fine, but ohhhhhhhh there is a new kind with a pop top that would be so much better.
Since taking a drastic pay cut to work for Mountain Equipment Co-opI have come into a new found strength against all the wants I find myself confronted with. I like this new power to tell myself. "No, you don't need that, you already have one" I like learning to appreciate what I already have, and learning to see all the things I have as what they really are.
They are what they are, and I only need what I need.
All water bottles, hold water and allow you to drink it, all back packs hold stuff, all toques keep your head warm... Until these things no longer do what they were designed to do, I don't need to get another one. These things will probably outlast me on this earth, and here I am thinking I need more. Its just more to store, and more to move around from place to place.
We shouldn't be burdened with our things, we should be enabled by them. They help us do the things we need to do, that's all. They do not define us, or make us happy.
And with all this lack of buying 'wants' that I am doing , there is still no shortage of pulling out my wallet. I need to buy train tickets, I need to buy food, I need to buy gas, and I need to buy water.
I have banished my credit card to the depths of hell and am carrying more cash. I want to feel the money go through my hands. I don't like spending 'cash' but I am not attached to the dollar amount I swipe on my debit card. So my debit card gets dusty while I strengthen my discipline to only buy what I 'need'.
Take that consumerism!