The Always Evolving and Partially Unwritten Five-Year Plan

Our Presence is the Present People!

When we left the states to move to Malaysia, we did a lot of de-cluttering, de-junking, and overall simplifying of our lives and possessions.  After only 5 years of marriage we had a ton of stuff that we didn’t need, use or want anymore. So, we donated, sold or threw out a lot of our stuff. And, honestly we haven’t missed a thing. Everything we own, minus what we have with us, is in a tiny storage unit that my husband miraculously fit it all in.

I’m sure when we come back, there will be some what of a buying spree, but I’m not really sure how much because we have really latched on to the idea of trying to live without so much stuff lately. One reason is that there are not the normal stores that I would shop at to fall back on. How many times I have wandered through the Gap, not needing anything, but buying something anyway? The Gap here is about 5 times the price it is at home, although most of the clothes are made over here (go figure!), and I just can’t muster up the strength (or the money) to pay that much. I’m sure I will find some clothing stores that I like over here, (I hope!) but it hasn’t been the worst thing in the world just wearing what I have in the closet.

Another reason is, I don’t want to have to cart it back to the states with us! So, that butternut enameled cast-iron cookware set from Crate and Barrel that I have had my eyes on, is going to have to stay on the shelf for now.  I will be bringing casseroles to dinners in trashy tupperware. Yup, that will be me. 🙂 Don’t judge.

Mostly though, Dan and I want to make sure that we don’t reclutter our lives with meaningless stuff again. And, when we do have kids (a ways down the road, nobody get excited!) we want to make sure that they understand that it isn’t all about STUFF, even though that is the message that constantly gets thrown at you, especially during the Christmas season.

Stepping on soapbox…

I have had kids in my class this year that have had to cross things off their list to Santa because they have already gotten those gifts (for no reason) in the weeks leading up to Christmas! What?! I know in my family, we had a very strict “NO BUYING” rule in the month of December on all toys, clothes, candy,games, etc. If you thought that my mom was going to buy one of us something in December, it would be a long, cold wait for you at the check out line! And, to me, that seems like a good way to do it. In the words of my friend Andrea, “We might not be poor, but our kids are going to think we are!”

Stepping off soapbox….

I found this article about giving gifts and thought it was rather interesting. Check it out: And, while I don’t agree with everything it says, it does make some very valid points about giving vs. buying and why we feel a need to do it. While I love, love, love finding the perfect gift, wrapping it up and seeing them when they open it, buying just to buy seems pointless and stupid. There just seems like there is a better way to show people that you love them, right?

So, after all that, do I still want that wide angle lens I have been stalking on amazon? YES!

Am I going to get some new tank tops at the Gap while I am home this Christmas? OF COURSE!

Is Henry still going to have a present for Christmas morning? YOU BETCHA!

Will I continue to search high and low for the perfect gift for friends and family? FOR SURE!

But, if I can’t find it, I am going to try to give something that will put the emphasis on the giving and not so much the buying part of the holidays.

Because, especially after being so far away from friends and family these last few months, really all I want is to sit down with my girlfriends, my mom, my sisters and have a great meal, a good glass of wine while talking and laughing with them. You can’t buy that in any country, online, or from a catalog, so it really ends up being a pretty good present for everyone.


2 responses

  1. Dennis Gilbert

    I love that attitude towards giving at Christmas. It also helps us to remember what we should be celebrating anyway!
    I would be very happy to have the same gift that I had last year! It was the best gift ever. Just a white envelope…or even just the pleasure of family company!

    December 4, 2010 at 2:27 PM

  2. Martha

    How very true and that last part makes me cry – but can’t WAIT to see you. I’m going to buy the wine now!!! Love you!!

    December 5, 2010 at 1:32 AM

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