I’m excited to welcome back Celia, who writes the blog litterless. Celia’s first contribution at the beauty in simple was her post on How to Get Started on Going Zero Waste. She inspires me with her ability to bring beauty to sustainability. Now, I have a few gifts to wrap, but before you get started with your gift wrapping, read on.
Following a “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” philosophy not only protects our planet’s natural resources, but it provides a pause in the consumption cycle allowing for contentment with what we have.
I filled the shopping cart three times, on separate occasions, but stopped short of hitting the checkout button. I selected a beautiful silk dress, cashmere sweater and leather clutch. It would have been a show stopper and I felt good about each piece because they were ethically made.
A list of simple things here and there.
1. Simple giving. A few years back, inspired by my friend Lisa who routinely gives blood, I started donating every few months. I think it was a pregnancy that put a halt to my giving. When I recently read of a blood drive close to my home, I jumped at the opportunity to start donating again. If you’re short on money or time, giving blood is a charitable offering that’s extremely valuable. The blood draw takes on average six to eight minutes and the whole process about an hour. Bonfils and the American Red Cross are a couple blood banks where you can give.
I stopped by the thrift store on Sunday. I counted four aisles chock-full of holiday decorations and more displays of ornaments, Christmas books and holiday attire dispersed throughout the store. The scene told a story of over consumption, discontent, poor quality and lost meaning.
One holiday event I attend annually is the Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens. As this will likely be my last year to spend the holidays in Denver, I was happy to share this tradition with my three kids and mother. We laughed a lot and marveled at the beautiful display of lights.
The story goes, shortly after my parents married in December 1964, my dad fell sick with a cold. My mom asked what he might like to make him feel better. Oddly (I think), he requested cranberry orange relish. I can only assume this was a food from his childhood. My mom made it for him following a recipe from the Boston Cooking School Cook Book. The cranberry orange relish was so well loved it has graced our family’s Thanksgiving table ever since that winter of 1964.
Sometimes I feel like I’m swimming against the current, but I do my best to cultivate a home that celebrates non-material values. These values I hold near and dear to my heart are also advocated by one of my favorite organizations, New Dream. I was pleased to be asked by their staff to contribute an article on my gift giving philosophy as part of their holiday campaign.
A list of simple things, here and there.
1. Practicing gratitude helps ease my anxiety, lifts my spirits, and focuses my attention on the beauty in this life. Sometimes I write down what I’m feeling grateful for, sometimes I verbalize what I’m noticing for others to hear, and sometimes I just quietly acknowledge my feelings to myself. However it’s expressed, it’s a profound but simple practice that I do daily.