As each holiday approaches I find myself craving more and more simple traditions. Less decorations, less focus on what we should buy for people and an increased focus on the time we have with those we love. In the past few years I’ve had numerous conversations with friends about this – tell me what you think…
In my twenties, after getting married and starting a family, I had this inner urge to consume STUFF. Whether it was furnishings for my home, decorations for holidays, kids toys and gadgets… I collected and purchased stuff like Gus from Cinderella collected cheese. I couldn’t wrap my arms around the items I was bringing home. I was prone to overspend with anything I could easily convince myself I needed. Needed meaning if I could justify in any way purchasing the item, I did. Despite my best intentions, it’s easy to be fooled—by emotions, clever advertising, shiny objects—into shelling out more than anticipated. Yes, I’m looking at you over there with a shopping cart full of unplanned purchases.
This was NOT how I was raised. I was raised in a very humble home with a single mom who usually worked two jobs to help pay bills. When we went shopping, we usually purchased only what was on the list. I worked from the time I was fourteen and there was not an abundance of cash flow to encourage overpsending while I was growing up.
Yet, for years, this is how I behaved. And then the recession hit our family in 2007. A good wake up call for how I had been living. Obvious motivation to curb spending.
So – I’m not sure if this is an aging rites of passage, typical post-recession behavior, or if I discovered myself a little more as I went into my thirties while learning to understand my personal preferences…
But – I chant LESS IS MORE over the past few years… and yearn for quality over quantity. This attitude overlaps my relationships, my home, how I spend my time, my choices in eating, my wardrobe, and valentines decorations. As silly as that might sound.
I want my life to reflect who I am. And at this phase of my life, I hope to spend less but still create a home with joy found in the little things. Happiness found in being with those we love. And this year – more than ever – I have a goal to see how much less we can buy, and how much more we can enjoy life.
Photos by me, Jane Rhodes