Don’t spoil what you have

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for.”

Have you ever thought that desire for what you don’t have can spoil what you do have? If your mind thinks about what you don’t have, can you really appreciate all that you do have?   

Sorry retailers, but the holiday season has me reflecting on wants and needs, and how much is too much.

If your basic needs are met and you have friends and family, what more do you need? A Zhu Zhu pet hamster? An iPhone? New boots? Will these things bring you sustained happiness?

So far the holiday shopping season has been disappointing for retailers. C. Britt Beemer, chairman of America’s Research Group, recently said: “shoppers are more frugal and cost-conscious because they have less money to spend.”

Less  money, yes. But maybe, shoppers have also realized that they don’t need to buy so much.

How about you? Have you cut back on holiday gift $hopping because you have less money, or for some other reason?

Me? I’ve been working long hours and have money to spend. In fact I felt the urge to reward myself, but I’m ignoring the urge to splurge. I plan to recharge, have fun, and savor time spent with family and friends.

p.s. The Epicurus quote is courtesy of Gretchen’s excellent Happiness Project blog.


  1. I’ve never been a big holiday shopper since my family usually kept gifts pretty simple when I was a kid. I don’t buy gifts for a ton of people, and I usually never spend over $25 on a holiday gift. This year I’ve simplified even more by making a couple of gifts and thrifting quite a few–it has really made the gift-giving process even more fun and meaningful.

  2. I LOVE that quote! Thanks so much.

    I’ve cut back significantly dollar-wise this year, to focus on the things I like- baking, and hanging out with friends and family. Cutting back hasn’t spoiled anything, it’s probably made it better.

    Have to go bake for tonight’s dessert party!

  3. I have pretty much eliminated holiday shopping. If I want to give someone a present, I will give it at some other time, as I refuse to get caught up in the mindless buy-buy-buy, or even the make-make-make. Been there, done that for too many years. If my husband wants to give a CHristmas gift to anyone, he is now responsible for picking it out and buying it himself, which has really cut down on his list too.

  4. OY! I so needed to hear that quote today. Thank ya kindly.

    I’m spending about the same this year, but a good chunk of my “spending” is in the form of donations and/or micro loans. I’m also becoming a crafting goddess (yeah, that’s right!) and am absolutely loving making gifts.

    Me and my peeps have all had this sort of collective “over it” epiphany this year. We’re tired of the crap, the hamster wheel of endless consumption. I don’t know if it had to do with the economy, our growing self-awareness, or fairy dust. But the “OMG! This object will totally change my life!” delusion is gone. Thank heavens.

  5. we are cutting back for 2 reasons: my hubby has been laid off for 14 months and we have told our in laws that Christmas will be small. (I also found out my job is being eliminated in 6 months) I think it’s good that people are finally realizing that you dont need to go into debt to have a nice Christmas. I certainly dont need to!
    Happy Holidays to you! I hope you and your family stay happy and healthy!

  6. I’ve spent the last day reading your archives, and I must say that you’ve inspired me! I just finished cleaning out the fridge and there’s a loaf of banana nut bread in the oven to use up the brown bananas I got cheap.
    This Christmas was mostly handmade…cookies, cakes, and crafts. I had a huge stash of wooden items to be painted and I did just that. My nephew loved the car, plane, firetruck, and bulldozer I painted, and my in-laws adored the birdhouses I personalized for them!
    Thanks so much for the motivation! Now I’m gonna launder my reusable shopping bags and put them in the car where they belong. Have a propsperous new year!

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