Photo by CTD 2005
Today is the busiest shopping day of the year in America, where the hordes spread out through the store to get the latest and greatest as holiday gifts.
I will not be venturing anywhere near a store today.
My main reason for not shopping is a few years ago I stopped to examine all the stuff we were bringing into our lives. It turns out that all the stuff we were buying were forcing us to work harder at jobs we didn’t like to pay for them. Our desires for stuff were fueled by wanting to keep up with others, and to make us happy. And it was fed into by the ads that bombarded us everywhere we turned.
The greatest example of this was one Saturday morning. I was busy upstairs, and my daughter wanted to watch television. We normally restrict her to public television, but this particular morning my partner decided to allow her to watch commercial television. After one half-hour of watching, she turned to us and said, “I want ” and proceeded to list all the toys she had just seen commercials for. We were amazed…and horrified.
So how did we get off the bandwagon? We haven’t fully. My daughter still wants toys, and grandma will overindulge her. But for the most part we buy ourselves things we need, or experiences. This year my husband and I are presenting each other with new coats. And our holiday money is going toward a ski trip in January. My daughter is OK with this. She doesn’t even bombard Santa with outrageous requests.
After a few years of not buying things, we have come to the realization that the latest toys are not the key to happiness. When it comes to my time, too, I am very careful to put new indulgences in terms of my hourly salary. Somehow, when I look at the trade-off of my free time against an iPod, I always seem to choose the time.
It is something worth thinking about if you are caught up in the holiday rush to buy the latest and greatest.