Friday, December 5, 2014


I am reading Little House in the Big Woods to Abraham who will be seven in January.  I think this is probably the 4th or 5th time reading the Little House Series.  

A tingling feeling always spreads through my body as I read the section in the book where Mary and Laura are so thrilled to receive a tin cup (so they now have their own cup), a candy cane, a small cake, and a penny.

We have come so far away from simple pleasures and I include our family in many ways.  Our children and I am sure myself as well are continually bombarded with messages of new stuff, nice stuff, updated stuff - that is just what you do.  

In many ways Mike and I reject this message by rarely buying new.  We and our children find joy in finding usable, needed items at recycling for instance.  On Thanksgiving night we all watched a movie by hooking up Isaac's lap top to the projector he found at recycling and showing it on an old saved shower curtain stretched out and hung on the wall.

I wonder where the line is drawn between thrift and environmental and fair wage concerns.  If we inherited a huge sum of money, for example, would our frugal ways hold fast.  I hope that they would.  We talk often about what a cheap little something made in China really costs.  We talk about what is lost when local businesses close.  We talk about where that plastic something will end up when it breaks down.  We talk about how stuff is for the most part meaningless unless it is a tool or provides beauty.  We talk about why we pay more for local and often organic food - why we are willing to pay $70.00 for a Thanksgiving turkey but not buy new toys or a new television to watch DVDs.

So this Christmas my hope is that the gifts we exchange are a token of our love for one another - and reflect thought, care, and in many cases the time that was invested in the making.


  1. We have four children and are trying to bring them up in the same spirit. Every year we try to de-clutter Christmas and every year we get a little better at it. We talk a lot about where things come from, what resourses have gone into making them, environmental consequences etc. We are very strict on computer time and hold great emphasis on spending time together. I don't think winning a big sum of money would change our way of life. A simpler life has been a longing ever since l was a little girl. It would however be nice to have a greater financial security, just knowing there was money in the bank to help in a crisis. I love the little house seies. Can't get my hands on them here, only the films. Wish you and you lovely family a very nice weekend. Pam

  2. I really love this post. We have had to be frugal out of necessity for many years. This year is the first time we are in a good spot financially. But we have found our frugal ways are still holding fast. For this we are so thankful we had to tighten our belts. We have found the things we were forced to give up were things we really didn't need.

    I completely agree with you about local businesses. We have a number of small businesses in our small town. We have chosen to shop there instead of the "big box" stores. One place I just love is a yarn shop and a primitive store. A lot of my gifts have come from these places.

  3. We recycle plastic here where I live. Plastic has many useful purposes. I see a lot of them in everyday life. For instance, it is in cars and probably in the one you and your family are driving,tools probably in the ones your husband works with, IV tubes , scientific utensils,toys ,spac equipment , this is just a very few items. Perhaps you should recycle and think of all the good things plastic is used for. Let your children think also of the good that is in plastic.
    I don't know if big will allow this to be published but I will be watching.

  4. Your photo is beautiful and heartwarming. For myself it isn't about the money, it is about the love and spirit of Christmas. People don't have a lot of money to spend these days and I am in the same category as them. I think the time spent together and the good meal and love is far more important than anything else.

  5. I think it is important to place value on the quality of goods and the environmental consequences of their manufacture. We definitely produce a surplus of plastic and recycling plastic is not always a simple process. I love that quote from the Little House books.

  6. I love this post! I am going to ponder....the time that is invested in the making. I love that!

  7. What a beautiful picture of your cozy home!

    This morning we stopped at a small local paint store for a gallon of paint and some spray on texture for our kitchen ceiling. The paint cost LESS than when we have bought paint at Lowes! Plus the advice given on using the spray for our damaged kitchen ceiling was invaluable.

    The crazy reality about the cheap junk from China is that they export the best that they make. Our daughter and her husband lived in China and what is sold in the country is really junk. It is hard to believe.

    We have a large immediate family of 16 and we are still growing. We strive to give useful gifts. Our sons typically ask for tools and the girls often ask for kitchen needs like cast iron skillets and cookbooks. I do not mind giving this kind of gifts.

    If we suddenly had a windfall of money there are so many working overseas that I would love to support along with many orphanages. We have all that we need.

  8. Nice post - my husband and I feel the same way. I actually just referenced the Little House books several weeks ago when I was getting worried about the Christmas holiday (and the influx of stuff that it means). I would like my child to appreciate getting one gift, like they would get in the books - naive or not. Lovely picture!