What Do You Need?

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Ah, the holidays. The week before Thanksgiving Black Friday ads begin. Print ads in the newspaper, pop-ups online, an onslaught of email, television. The bombardment doesn’t end until the after Christmas sales are over.

Black Friday,

Small Business Saturday,

Cyber Monday.

All commercial creations designed to part you from your hard-earned cash.

Hey, I enjoy getting the jump on Christmas shopping, but by the time Thanksgiving is over, I’m sick of the holiday hard-sell.

Seeing Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving doesn’t do anything to get me in the spirit.

I’m lucky. I have all that I need: a roof over my head, food, car that runs, meaningful work, internet access, and plenty of interests to keep me occupied. I’m grateful for every ounce of it and painfully aware that so many don’t have any of those things.

I’ve had lean times in my life when I had to decide between buying toothpaste or something to eat. (I brushed my teeth with some baking soda that had been deodorizing the back the empty fridge for months and bought some bologna. Good times.)

But the lean times taught me to be frugal. Whenever I’m going to buy anything from land to lunch, I ask myself what I need first.

What do you need? What do you friends and family need?

I have many people in my life who don’t have as much as I do. The same questions apply. I want to gift them with something they really need or want instead of some silly item they won’t use. Giving someone kitchen knives when they already have a set isn’t a gift.

Oh, and that Goodwill toward men thing? That includes everyone. A smile or word of kindness is absolutely free. Give liberally to all the grumpy, angry, rung-out souls in the service industry who have put up with more abuse from strangers than any one person should ever have to.

Don’t fall for the crazy commercialism. Monitor your spending. Consume wisely. Give what you can in the most meaningful way possible.

There’s an old saying, he who dies with the most toys wins.

Wins what? A plaque on their headstone?

I think he who dies with the most toys never had his priorities straight.

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