Kill it with fire!

Consumerism is a hard habit to kill. Just when I think I’ve got it licked I can feel it sneak up on me in a surge of holiday disguised money-burning-a-hole-in-my-pocket.

I had to go to the mall today. The dreaded mall. I don’t like it for much more than the play place that I got some 50% off Groupon admission tickets to for Lily. But I had to hit up the department store cosmetic counter for the face wash I’m addicted to. That’s not very green of me, huh, using store bought face wash? It’s paraben-free, isn’t tested on animals, and has a picture of a tree on the front…That counts for something, right?

Anyway, as I was catapulted into a winter wonderland of twinkly lights and 913496782310 Made in Sweatshop things to buy, I caught myself thinking “I could maybe pick up some cologne for Art,” (even though he hasn’t talked about wanting any in months and the smells are more than likely to give me a headache). I even considered waiting in line for Lily to say “hi” to Santa. Whaaa? Who is this person thinking these things?

Okay, I know, buying cologne and letting your kid see a mall Santa are two totally normal things for most people to do. But this year (and most likely every year from here out) I vowed for a handmade/small business Christmas, and my gift preparing and shopping is complete and within those parameters. And the whole Santa thing, well, Lily is terribly standoffish with strangers and I could see the whole experience just going very poorly. Plus I don’t know how to explain the spirit of Santa/Christmas to a 2.5 year old that makes a damn ounce of sense, and I also haven’t talked to Art just yet about how we plan to tackle the whole ‘fat man in a red suit’ topic.

So, I power-walked through the mall pushing my freebie stroller (dumpster dive, woo!), looking just like the rest of the moms and kids, but mentally arguing with myself about cologne and Mall Santa. I even mentally laughed at myself for such ridiculousness. So we hurried in, waved at Santa from afar while I thought about ways I could explain the magic of the season to a darn toddler, bought my face wash, and escaped without spending a penny more.

I’m not much of one for resolutions, but I’m going to keep on with the lessened level of consumerism, increase the amount of food we purchase from makes-me-feel-happy sources, and my newest idea is when we do eat out it’ll only be from family-owned restaurants. I’m going to keep choosing small vendors over chains and big box stores, and I really really want to find a small grocer that meets all of my weekly shopping needs. Bring it, 2012!

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  1. I think that is so lovely what you are doing! I really do commend you! Man, if more people could do this, and it became a thing, a lot of the nonsense plaguing our society would cease to be. I know it must be difficult! I myself am a recent vegan, and have been grappling with the idea of working towards a minimalist lifestyle. The conveniences that we’ve been practically conditioned to enjoy are hard to escape, and even harder to justify to those who see no reason to escape them. So good for you! You are an inspiration to people like me who aspire to live better lives, for a better world. 🙂

    • Sometimes I wish I were still ignorant, and sometimes I still am, but baby steps, right? 🙂 Congrats on the veganism; it’s something I admire and toy with, but with eating gluten-lite (we’re not gluten-free, but avoid it for the most part), and after being crappy vegetarian (relied heavily on processed junk) for too many years, I shy away from it fully. And the whole minimalist thing is *hard* when you have a house full of junk to purge through! We’ve donated and Freecycled and tossed a lot though this past year, and it’s feeling much more like home here now. Funny how less stuff makes me feel cozier. So much room for improvement though still!


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