For the sake of an experiment go into your kitchen, look around and see what you need. What you actually need? If you’re having difficulty, open a cupboard where you store your appliances and have a look in there. What do you need? What can’t you live without?
Maybe go to the drawers and count the cutlery, have a really good look in the crockery places – do you need a gravy boat? A soup tureen? Maybe just a few more dessert bowls?
Do you need some new knives and forks or another bottle opener? Maybe you need a mixer or a blender? Maybe even something big, like a microwave or a fridge. Looking at the essentials, you could probably do with some food in your cupboard – have a really good look. Do you need to have more food in your cupboard? Is there enough food there already? Is there enough to last you and your family two weeks?
Could you feed your family for two weeks?
If the shops closed right now, could you manage to scrape together enough meals to feed everyone for two weeks? (You might be surprised how much food you have).
Is there enough juice in the fridge for this week? Enough salad greens and tomatoes?
Let’s expand the experiment beyond the kitchen – go into the bathroom and see what you need there… Maybe a new set of scales? Maybe a new lady-shaver or some moisturiser?
Your bedroom is a fun place, you might need a pillow or two, a decorative throw or some matching cushions?
There is always something missing in the wardrobe. Are there enough clothes? Are there enough clothes that you could wear something different every day for the next two weeks?
Could you use a new Motörhead t-shirt?
Do you have two pairs of shoes for all seasons? Sandals and thongs, work shoes and boots – maybe a pair of runners and some fluffy slippers?
Clogs for the garden?
There must be things you could get for the laundry? A washing machine or a dryer. Maybe some fabric softener?
If you wander into the lounge room. Is there a television, a stereo, DVD player, CD player, video player, BluRay player and a shelf full of books?
If the house is covered – try the yard; have you a lawnmower and a swing set? An edge trimmer? A garden setting and a gazebo or market umbrella?
Are you in need of a new swimming pool perhaps?
Need versus want
I am sure the point has been driven home – you can see where I am going.
When we think of Christmas we automatically think of what can we give people and I suspect none of us could say that we’ve never been given something that we didn’t want and more often than not, something we didn’t need.
So what is it that people need at Christmas? What is the urge we have to give gifts – mostly gifts that we buy?
When I was a kid we got toys and books for Christmas, but it was also a chance to get some things we needed – a new dress when we had grown out of all the old ones, new shoes and undies and an upgrade on the old hairbrush or sun hat, my clever (and probably cash-careful) parents gave us things that were also part of our daily needs.
What are the ‘gifts’ that we can give someone to make their life better – the things they need to be happier? More satisfied? Less sad or angry or hurt? Less lonely?
Do any of those things come in boxes and wrapping paper?
DO try this at home
Let’s try a new experiment – even if you have already spent a month’s wages on gifts, why not make a list, just for the hell of it, of things you can give each loved one – something that they actually need – things where they don’t have to rattle the box and guess what it is.
Things that make them feel better and safer and happier and wanted and loved.
Merry Merry and Happy New Everything!