Weekend Roundup: Holiday Shopping Edition

Things I’m digging lately:

The $100 Christmas Challenge – Bill McKibben and members of his church began a challenge back in the 1990s to not spend more than $100 on Christmas Gifts each year. Sticklers among you may want to account for inflation (ha!), but this is a fantastic challenge that I’m thinking of trying next year.  We’ve spent about two and half times that this year, which I realize is less than many people, so I’m thinking that we can forget inflation and try to only spend $100 next year.  The key for us is hand-making many of our presents, which means that while the dollar figure may be low, the time (and love) factor is quite high.

40 Reasons to Avoid Shopping on Black Friday – Black Friday has come and gone, but the reasons to avoid the malls persist through the entire holiday season.

Online Deals For Holiday Shopping: Buyer Beware – And if you need one more reason to think carefully about so-called sales and great deals, this article is an eye-opener.

Contrary to the impression these articles may give, I am not anti-shopping or anti-gift.  Instead of chasing deals, I’d rather think about what a loved one wants or needs and shop or make accordingly.  I’ve also begun to look much more critically at sales and instead purchase items based on quality rather than based on the supposed savings that I’m getting.  For folks like my husband, this is obvious, but for someone like me who used to be seduced by the savings off of the MSRP for just about everything that I bought, this is a liberating awakening.

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Weekend Roundup: Ithaka, Vandalism, and the Holidays

Things I’m digging lately:

  • The Lies Your Mind Tells You to Prevent Life Changes – A post from Zenhabits that we should all revisit from time to time.
  • Why the Creepytings National Park Vandalism is a Big Deal – If you have not heard about this “artist’s” vandalism, it is worth reading about.  She has vandalized precious, beautiful locations that belong to us all.  Some may say that this is not that big of a deal (I am not one of those), but seeing where she painted turned my stomach.  I only hope that this can be used as a lesson to many about the importance of respecting our wild, beautiful, and public lands.  Unfortunately, we saw our share of vandalism in parks, most notably in Joshua Tree and in Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, but nothing quite so widespread or brazen as this.
  • Holiday Calendar from Center for a New American Dream – Looking for some alternatives to a holiday season filled with shopping and last-minute errands?  The Center for a New American Dream has put together a great holiday calendar with ideas to celebrate the season away from the malls and the online retailers.
  • And finally, I leave you with the last two stanzas of Ithaka by the Greek poet C.P. Cavafy.  Click here to check out the entire poem that speaks so loudly to me right now.  Does this resonate with you?  What is yourIthaka right now?
    .   .   .

    “Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you would not have set out. She has nothing left to give you now.

    And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.”

 

Have a beautiful weekend, friends…

Weekend Roundup: Resilience, Debt Emergencies, and the Inimitable, Wendell Berry

Things I’m digging this week:

“To take what there is, and use it, without waiting forever in vain for the preconceived — to dig deep into the actual and get something out of that — this doubtless is the right way to live.”  – Henry James

 

What do you think?  Do you think resilience can have a marked impact on the quality of our lives?  And do you see debt (mortgage debt largely notwithstanding) as something to be dealt with like an emergency?  Does the quote from Henry James resonate with you the same way it resonated with me?  While I’m in this period of transition and constant flux, I try to remind myself of this daily.  Instead of waiting until we’re settled, we have a home, we have a routine, and on an on, I’m trying to do what I can with what I have to build the life I want.