Just a friendly reminder as we enter the holiday season and the shudder-inducing, pathological consumption of “Black Friday” approaches: we don’t need all that STUFF. We’re better with less.
Stuff is what created the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an unfathomably huge area of plastic waste that doesn’t biodegrade, leaches harmful chemicals into the sea, and kills marine life. The manufacturing, shipping, packaging, and discarding of all our unnecessary stuff is killing the planet.
Stuff needs to be stored, cleaned, taken care of, packed, moved, recycled, re-homed, or disposed of. That’s time, energy, and money better spent on things that matter.
Stuff doesn’t make us happy. Experiences do. Experiences tend to bring us together with other humans and social connections are a key to happiness. Stuff demands our time and energy leaving less time for nurturing social relationships.
The quest for more, bigger, better, and still more stuff puts us in debt. Debt causes stress and hardship and can break up relationships and families.
Buying presents for everyone you love can be a huge time-suck and stress-inducer. Giving is supposed to make you happy, right? But that extra few hundred dollars in interest rates on your credit card from buying all that stuff kinda does the opposite.
Much of the stuff we give as gifts winds up as junk. (Click that link — really interesting article!)
So you didn’t realize I was such an old grinch-face, did you? Au contraire! I’m trying to lighten our load by reminding us that we are better with less. If you’re curious, let Courtney of Be More With Less explain why. Her site is full of good reasons to lessen our load of stuff and how this can help us live a better life.
I know I’ve taken the risk of sounding preachy. I’m not judging. (It’s hard to sit in judgement when I have a house full of stuff and, as my husband likes to point out regularly, three storage cabinets full of yarn and fabric. “Floor to ceiling!” he says reproachfully. Defensively I point out that the cabinets are in the basement which has a low ceiling. 😉 ) It’s hard to fight the urge for more stuff, when every message in our society tells us all day long that we need more. Stuff you didn’t know you needed until you were told. Stuff you “deserve”. Stuff you can’t live without. Stuff that will make your life better. Stuff that is too good a bargain to turn down. Our capitalist society is built on the faulty premise that the economy must grow constantly (even though we know this is completely unsustainable for the planet and for our grandchildren).
Rather than being preachy I was just hoping to let you know that it’s possible for us to get through this season while minimizing a lot of the stresses and environmental devastation that goes along with stuff. Courtney has some good advice in her Guide to Simple Holidays and here’s some thorough advice from Wellness Mama on giving experiences instead of stuff, especially for families with kids.
By all means, let’s buy the things we need or want to support our creative hobby, because that is a creative endeavour that enhances our experience as humans.
But let’s allow ourselves the luxury of saying no to the rampant consumerism we’re constantly being badgered into. Let’s spend time doing what we love and being with the people we love. That’s what really matters.
I think we should rename Black Friday to Better With Less Friday, to remind ourselves of what’s important.
Thanks so much for stopping by (and humouring me on my ranting).