We’ve been on a spending spree lately that has my conscious gnawing at me. This is coming from someone who LOVES to shop. Shopping, unfortunately, is like therapy for me. It’s sad, but true. After leaving my corporate job to work part-time at our church two years ago, my “therapy” sessions have been seriously curtailed, but a new purse still has a way of temporarily beating the blues for me.

Lately, I’ve really been bothered my evident materialistic tendencies. I love things – new things, old things, expensive things. My overflowing closets and storage rooms contain the proof. I’m not a snob and I don’t think I’m consumed with materialism, but it’s definitely one of my vices. As I watch my two young girls growing each day, I’ve been pondering how I can help them avoid the trap of materialism and replace it with a love for inner beauty, nature & spiritual connectedness.

This issue has risen to the front of my conscious with all of the gift-giving that comes along with Christmas and a few big ticket items we recently purchased. I told myself that I wasn’t going to get the girls much this year because they’ve already received a bazillion gifts over the past month in honor of Anna’s birth and they don’t need anything. As usual, I went overboard anyway. I really appreciated today’s post from Dana on Mamalogues talking about this very issue. Her 3 gift idea is a great one. It’s just so hard because I want to give them the world…I guess it’s just a matter of which world I want to give them.

In the midst of the highest spending time of the year, we decided to make 2 huge purchases that are still making butterflies in my stomach. When it comes to big purchases, I’m always rather squeamish. Even after making the decisions and knowing we can afford it, I always feel like it’s a mistake. After all, we didn’t NEED these things, we just WANTED them.

We splurged on a fancy schmancy media laptop that is primarily for me. It’s loaded with all the bells and whistles and I LOVE IT, but I didn’t NEED it. Then, last weekend we went out and officially joined the minivan club. We traded in our Blazer. I’m loving the new van, but feeling sick that we’ve added car payments back into our budget. Sometimes I think it would be easier to live in a cave than have to constantly battle the ying and yang of spending versus saving and giving. It’s true that the more you have, the more you want. It’s a vicious cycle.

In this season of Christmas, where we celebrate the true meaning of grace that began with a tiny baby being born in a lowly stable, I’m humbly reminded that while I’m blessed to be able to buy all of these things, I need to be ever-watchful that they don’t distract me from what really matters. After all, we can’t take them with us when we go. One of my new year resolutions is to put my focus on people instead of things and tasks – to fill myself up with relationships instead of purchases. Hopefully, I’ll teach my girls along the way that even without the the material comforts of this life, we are blessed beyond belief with a loving, forgiving God; wonderful family and friends; and an opportunity every day to do something that makes a positive difference in someone’s life. That’s better than a new pair of shoes any day!