The Simple Dollar has a great post today. It is titled:  Gifts That Matter Don’t Come From Wal-Mart.  I feel like I have to constantly remind myself of this simple fact.  It is confirming and inspiring to read it posted.

For example, I made my mom’s Mothers Day gift this year. It took careful planning as I purchased the vase & ribbon, planted the seed and watered the grass. I also included a heartfelt personal note inside the “Happy Mothers Day” Card.  It really took a lot of time and careful planning vs.  buying something from the store in a 10 minute swoop.  The cost of the gift was (liberally) $2.00. 

1.00 1 Vase (found on clearance at Wal-mart)
1.00 1 bag of Rye Grass (the WHOLE bag cost 1.00 from Dollar General)
 .00  Ribbon from my craft box
 .00  Card Stock recycled from a used mailing envelope
 .00 Skewer from our utensil drawer

As a perfectionist I spent a lot of time on the gift, more than most people.  I am obsessed with details. I can’t help it. I just am. For example there is a red foam flower on the back of the card that is flawlessly placed.  More, I played with the smaller polka dotted ribbon atop the card for a while.

Should I use it? 

No.

Oh, I have changed my mind.  Why Yes!

Stripes with dots? hmm…

On second thought, it does look cute.

No, that is just too much ribbon.

Now it looks naked. Put the little red ribbon back on top.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat

Anyway, the point: The Simple Dollar’s post really hit home. 

Managing a family on a single income budget isn’t easy.  It takes a lot of creativity, planning, and dedication to core values and principles.  I have not had the money to spend on every flair and whimsy, nor a spree at my favorite shops.  Prior to my stay-at-home stint I was the bread winner. My status allowed me great luxuries. I could spend as I pleased without answering to any one.  And, I did.

When it comes to gift giving, and simply living for that matter, I have to give gifts that I have, ones that come naturally from the heart including time, creativity, and love.  This confirmed, it is still hard.

When I gave the gift to my mother, I couldn’t help but feel a bit ashamed. I felt like I should have given a pricier gift even though I can’t afford it.  I felt slightly embarrassed, guilty and ungrateful. Funny, I don’t feel this way when I spend $50.00 on a Georgia Plate or $75.00 on a locket.  And, the material gifts do not take (even close) to the same amount of time, attention and consideration. It requires about ten minutes to decide on a gift, call Smiths Jewelersfor prewrapping, pick up and pay for the gift. Trust me. I have done it a thousand times.  

Why would someone feel like this?  Is it consumerism? Is is my crazy material world?  Is it the marketing teams whose main goal is to make me feel like my current state of being is not good enough? I don’t know. Do you ever feel like purchasing a gift is superior to making one?  Do you feel better when you give expensive gifts? And, less when you don’t? Or, do you find it easy to reduce consumption?