Why Less is More: Adopting a More Frugal And Appreciative Approach to Gift Giving

by deborah on December 16, 2013 · 21 comments

in Culture, Living Green

Why Less is More: Adopting a More Frugal & Appreciative Approach to Gift Giving

As I struggle to juggle all of the challenges and stress associated with holiday shopping, gift-giving

and the demands of the season, a few thoughts weigh heavily on my mind.

We live in a consumer-driven economy and society, and it is hard to internalize this concept.

At every turn we are bombarded with billboards, television ads, and other media that compels us 

to consume more and more “things”.

Even visiting other people’s homes or seeing their new vehicles can give us a sense that we need more,

better, and bigger stuff.

It seems like a new electronic gadget or nifty new item comes out every day, and if the price is low we

feel almost compelled to add this item to our collection of things.

Does this concern you too?

Are we overdoing it?

There is an old saying that “less is more.”

What, exactly, does this mean?

Can a little really satisfy?

How Can Less Be More?

Why Less is More: Adopting a More Frugal & Appreciative Approach to Gift Giving

Think of it this way.

If you clean out your closets, do you re-discover things you forgot you had?

While this can be kind of fun, it is really a sad commentary on our over-stuffed lives that we don’t

even remember what we own!

If you had fewer items, you would appreciate them more and, ultimately, those items would 

be used more fully and add more to your life.

This is the essence of the “less is more” principle.

Why Less is More: Adopting a More Frugal & Appreciative Approach to Gift Giving

*Meaningful Relationships

When you are not distracted by clutter and things and the latest demands being made on you by

the great new cell phone you just bought, you have more time for people.

When you cease to focus on stuff, you have the time and opportunity to focus on people.

Relationships are, ultimately, more fulfilling than inanimate objects.

Once again, less (stuff) is more (personal fulfillment).

*Simplicity

Why Less is More: Adopting a More Frugal & Appreciative Approach to Gift Giving

Gadgets and things require responsibility.

You have to clean, maintain, and store all of these things–cars have to be washed and taken in

for oil changes and other maintenance, electronic gadgets need to be upgraded, and toys take up

plenty of space on the shelf or otherwise in your home.

Things complicate your life.

Fewer things make for a simpler life.

*Gratitude

When you don’t toss out and replace old items with the latest thing, you develop a sense of appreciation

for what you do have.

You are more likely to repair, fix, and treat gently those items that you are not going to toss aside.

You will also think twice before purchasing something new, because you know it will have to last a while.

When you think about it, this promotes quality products and durable items.

If that’s what people buy, that’s what manufacturers will produce.

*Neat Home

Why Less is More: Adopting a More Frugal & Appreciative Approach to Gift Giving

Your home should be your refuge, the place where you invite people or spend time alone, where you

reconnect with family and relax.

It can also be your workplace.

If it’s messy, you may find yourself distracted and frustrated and unable to relax.

Less stuff equals more inner peace, basically, since you have fewer stressors surrounding you.

*Contentment

Tying in with the neat home, learning to be content with what you have and not desiring the latest

thing can be very freeing.

It gives you a sense of relief to know you are not trying to keep up with anyone or having to

clean out to make room for the latest round of gifts and purchases.

You are not constantly pursuing new things, but you have learned to appreciate the simplicity

of a few treasured items.

*Closeness to Nature

Why Less is More: Adopting a More Frugal & Appreciative Approach to Gift Giving

Stuff is distracting.

It distracts from relationships, peace, and, last, the natural world.

Having a bigger television, more sophisticated video games, new computer software, and other

stuff means you are spending large amounts of time indoors.

If these distractions are minimized, you won’t want to be sitting indoors or you’ll get bored!

Getting outdoors is healthy, invigorating, and fascinating.

You may find yourself forging a deep and meaningful communion with nature that you never

thought possible.

*Better Health

Stress affects our health, and stress can be greatly exacerbated by excessive stuff.

When you achieve the benefits noted above, your health with greatly improve.

Peace, contentment, gratitude, simplicity, and health all go hand in hand.

And then there is the practical health issue– many items, especially certain plastic children’s toys,

can be toxic to our health directly.

Some of those plastics are cause for concern, possibly causing illness and disorders.

The less plastic in your life, the healthier you’ll be.

*Financial Security

Why Less is More: Adopting a More Frugal & Appreciative Approach to Gift Giving

One of the most compelling arguments against consumerism is that it promotes debt.

Some people regularly go into debt to pay for Christmas presents.

If you scale back your gift-giving and take the time to think about what people would

really like to receive, you will save a significant amount of money.

Think carefully about your own wants and needs before making purchases.

You will also save money by making gifts yourself or employing other creative gift-giving

ideas.

The drive to have more and more– either for yourself or for giving to others – can set you up for

financial difficulties and even financial ruin.

“The people on your gift list who are truly worth

giving to–the real friends–would not expect

you to go into debt to give them a big gift.”

*Environmental Impact of Consumerism

Regardless of your reasons for adopting a more frugal and appreciative approach this gift-giving season,

the fact is that excessive gift-giving has a significant environmental impact.

Used items get discarded irresponsibly and end up in landfills.

Emissions are produced when many of these gadgets are manufactured.

And as mentioned above, many items, especially certain plastic children’s toys, can be toxic to our

health and to the environment.

The less plastic in your life, the better.

Raw materials are necessary to produce more and more stuff–often non-renewable raw materials such

as petroleum.

All in all,  it all boils down to “less is often more” when it comes to holidays and gift-giving.

Stay tuned for more on this topic…

Why Less is More: Adopting a More Frugal & Appreciative Approach to Gift Giving

How do you feel about adopting a more frugal and appreciative approach to  gift-giving?

What are you doing to simplify and green your approach to gift giving?

Share your thoughts and suggestions with us.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandra Sallin December 16, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Beautiful post and beautiful ideas. You’re right and it makes me think about all you have said. You’re speaking to me. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

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deborah December 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Hi Sandra,
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me. I am glad this resonated with you. We certainly have a lot to think about don’t we, especially during the biggest consumer-fest of the year!

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Tiffany Olson December 16, 2013 at 3:59 pm

I love this Deborah and totally agree. I’ll only be buying a few items (a gift each for my roommates and for my parents as well). I plan to shop either second hand or buy gift certificates from local businesses. :)

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Belle December 16, 2013 at 4:25 pm

This is such a great post, I truly agree with all that has been said. This is what Christmas should be about. A good reminder of how we should structure and think in life. We would benefit from being much happier I think!

x

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deborah December 16, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Hi Belle,
I am delighted to hear that you relate to this message. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me. I appreciate it.

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Haralee December 16, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Such great points. I really don’t think more makes people happier but many think it does.

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deborah December 16, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Hi Haralee,
I know what you mean. So many advertising and marketing messages compel us to associate an obsession with consumption with being happy, pretty, successful, fulfilled…but they fail to mention the downside. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me. I appreciate it.

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MallSaleLover December 16, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Amazing photos and enlightening virtues:-) Thanks for sharing all these, really lifted my spirits.

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deborah December 16, 2013 at 10:17 pm

I love your gift-giving quote as well. So true! Thank you for stopping by by blog and sharing your thoughts with me. I really appreciate it.

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Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com December 17, 2013 at 11:20 am

Hi Deborah….you know from my blog posts that I too believe in everything you’ve said here. There is way too much emphasis in getting us to all buy and spend more than is both necessary or sustainable-but what we are all really craving is love, attention and appreciation from one another. Thanks for reminding us all that “the best things in life aren’t things!” ~Kathy

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Marla December 17, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Love your message. We need more gratitude and less attitude in this world. That is for sure. We need more love and more natural living. Love your pictures. Thanks for sharing.

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Gaynor Paynter December 17, 2013 at 2:14 pm

I agree totally with this. Going to share it on my Facebook page as well as I have friends who relate. I try to buy handmade goods for Christmas, to try to support the local traders at least, and to buy things like low GI biscuits for diabetic friends, etc – things I know will be used. I also try to look at the packaging. I prefer to buy things packaged in paper, as I know that whatever type of disposal occurs, that will return to the earth fairly fast. I buy things I know I would have liked myself. Great article – very thought provoking.

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deborah December 19, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Hi Gaynor,
It makes me happy to hear that this post resonated with you. It is a topic that is really worthy of exploration and discussion. Each person and family needs to decide how to deal with this issue in a manner that makes sense for them.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I also enjoyed reading your blog and shared your Christmas post with others. Very timely!

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Sol Felice Alvarado December 18, 2013 at 1:26 am

Great post! In a world where consumerism is everywhere, it’s best to tackle on these topics. Less is more, indeed. It can benefit our society and would do great also on our personal development.

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deborah December 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm

I am so glad this message resonated with you. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I appreciate it. Have a wonderful holiday!

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Christine @ Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers December 19, 2013 at 1:43 pm

I love the message in this post!

We started doing the three gift thing (one to wear, one to read, and one for fun) for the kids a couple Christmases ago, (and made Grannie follow the same rules!) and what a difference it has made! No more mountains of crap the kids don’t really want or need… just a few well-chosen things they will really enjoy.
… not trying to imply that we don’t still have entirely too much stuff…

Happy Holidays to you!
~ Christine
http://onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowers.com/

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deborah December 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Hi Christine,
I feel like I have made a new friend. I just hopped over to your blog and I fell in love with your wonderful world! I especially enjoyed the recipe for hot chocolate with wine. I look forward to reading more…
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. Have a wonderful holiday!

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Jennifer Steck December 21, 2013 at 5:19 pm

A few years ago we decided to pick one name out of the hat instead of continuing to buy for everyone. It cuts down on the stress and spending and allows each of us to take the time to give a gift with meaning. The simplicity has been wonderful. I love the idea of applying that same kind of thought to other areas of my life. Merry Christmas!!

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deborah December 23, 2013 at 11:00 am

Hi Jennifer,
Yes, more and more friends of mine have downsized their gift giving in the same manner as your family. It certainly reduces the stress and allows them to focus on the other positive aspects of spending quality time together, sharing, good works and reflection. I enjoy making and sharing imple stocking stuffers for everyone such as holiday cookies. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. I appreciate it.

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Maureen Wright-Evans February 13, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Hi Deborah,

Great content you have here
You are my type of Gal!

I would love to connect with you and see how I can help

Reply

deborah February 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Hi Maureen,
I am so glad you connected with me at UrbanNaturale.com. I was delighted to discover your wonderful blog. We have so many interests in common. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. Let’s stay in touch. All the best, Deborah

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