13 December 2012

The Spirit of the Season

I am fighting a losing battle with myself. I want to stop wanting THINGS and be content with all the amazing things I have -- and the people I have to share them with.

But I am susceptible to marketing and jealousy like woah.

It's Christmastime, so there are tons of "hot deals" and "buy now" messages pervading me. I have read so many gift guides and thought "oh, I want that!" And being at others' homes and seeing the beautiful decorations my tree doesn't seem like enough. And I want more-more-more.

Specific example: Christmas china. The idea of having special plates, bowls, cups, glasses to pull out for December is suddenly oddly appealing to me (although come January - November decidedly less so!). Bringing myself back to reality I remember that i have wedding china I've never used (and don't have a safe place to store so it remains in its box in the utility room). And I don't have people over to eat with any regularity anyway, even around Christmas (THAT is something I could change in good conscience though).

I want to have good habits and attitudes to pass onto and model for Jane. Not being so obsessed with gadgets and clothes and possessions. But I am tempted to shop-shop-shop all the time, including for her.

Of course I can't not shop for her at all -- she is growing and developing and needs bigger clothes, more challenging toys, etc., many of which I can get at consignment shops and garage sales (although it's definitely easy for me to still go overboard). But I can certainly work harder to reign myself in.

In our pre-parenthood dreamland, we were determined to limit her toys, especially plastic. And like everyone else said -- our living room is overflowing with baskets of toys and books ... and we've even boxed up a good portion of her toys to swap out in May. So even there, in what seems like it should be a concrete "in-and-out" system, I fail.

And even as I'm confronted by my blatant consumerism I feel some comfort in buying gifts for others this season -- picking out presents, wrapping and shipping them -- oh the efficiency. Until I come across blog posts and books that feature people giving up gift giving to those they love in favor of helping the poor and needy -- either entirely or half for family and half for strangers.

What does gratitude look like? How can I do better -- not just at Christmas but all year -- at being grateful myself and instilling gratitude in my family? How do you fight the "want-more-stuff" monster?

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