Half the battle

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little”.  ~ Edmund Burke

Welcome Becoming Minimalist readers! This is the second half of the guest post I wrote over at Joshua’s blog, please check it out if you haven’t already!

As minimalists, we’ve given up a lot of stuff.

We’ve stopped buying, eating, driving, watching TV and generally consuming as much as we used to.

We’ve changed our lives for the better and for many of us, there’s no going back.

But as Christmas appraoches, I’m beginning to wonder, is it enough?

Is it enough to just stop taking?

half the battle

We’ve gotten very far to be where we are now. But still, I can’t help but feel we’re only halfway there.

Yes, as minimalists, we’ve given up a lot of stuff, but as human beings we need to start giving too.

For many of us, we are lucky enough to have the choice to stick with having less. But there are many people who didn’t get to make that decision.

Minimalists choose to have enough, but there are some people who don’t even have that.

what can we do?

Spread the word. Show people there is another way instead of spending hours in a shopping mall fretting over which perfume to get their loved one this year. People have forgotten that Christmas is a season of giving (and I don’t mean pointless presents) – we’re supposed to be generous, kind and caring. Instead, it’s become a time for wanting, taking and demanding for things we think we need to be happy.

Before I get any emails about it, I’m not saying let’s abandon Christmas. I have some very fond memories of Christmas with my family and friends. Actually, it’s especially because I love Christmas that I hate to see it transformed into something ugly.

If you think about it, it’s spending time with other people and making other people happy that makes you happy. The present giving tradition probably stemmed from people wanting to make their kids or their friends happy by giving them something from the heart. But TV and magazine advertisements, card companies and shopping malls have made Christmas into a season of over spending, competitiveness, material desire and stuffing ourselves.

If only we spent a little less money on brand clothing, toys, cards, decorations and the like, we could help people who don’t even have clothes to wear or even a home at all.

If only we ate a little less just because of the date of the year, we could help people who don’t have much to eat the whole year around.

If only we spent less time shopping or working so much, we’ll have more time to give to our family, our friends, our community and those that need us.

We can’t do everything, but we can do something. You don’t need more money, you just have to spend less. And you don’t need a lot of time, you just have to simplify more.

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one”.  ~ Mother Teresa

From our cosy houses sometimes we forget that winter is a cold season. There are people in the streets. There are people who are hungry. We may not be able to change the world, but even if we help one person, we can make a world of a difference to them.

Change somebody’s world this Christmas.

Related Posts

PS. Speaking of giving, thank you Lip from The Lazy Pixel for helping me fix a few broken links in previous posts.

PPS. The Minimalist Christmas Challenge is still running, subscribe to the Twitter feed for daily de-cluttering prompts!

  • I am a student and am working full time to get trough my life , In regard to your opinion [which is very well felt in this article] I should say you are giving people very low credits , I myself am not a Minimalist but still , I buy 2-3 set of new cloths on X-mas eve , and that’s it for clothing till next year , 1 night big Dinner is a mean to gather whole family together , so it’s like a family of 3 person becomes a family of 15-25 person for Christmas Dinner so not much waist there …

    Yet I do agree with this statement of yours “We can’t do everything, but we can do something. You don’t need more money, you just have to spend less. And you don’t need a lot of time, you just have to simplify more.” And honestly I am going to follow this principle this year and see the result myself.
    Thank you very much.

  • Carolyn

    Hi Jessica, yhis is the first time I am commenting on your blog even though I have been reading it for almost two weeks now. I have even re-read some of the same posts to refresh my memory and guide me back to the right direction. I never knew there was a name for this kind of lifestyle, but I am glad I’m not the only one who wants to become minimalist. I am just a beginner so there are struggles, but your blog is very inspiring and is keeping my momentum going. I find that I can relate to you in many ways. I love everything about Japan. Besides that, I just feel I can relate to your posts, and that your guidance is definitely something I can follow. so thank you for having this blog, and I hope you keep posting more on here, and not just on Twitter.

    • Hello Carolyn, thank you so much for your encouraging comment. I will definitely be post more here, especially because the things I like to talk about are more than 140 characters 😉 however, I like to post links and quotes on twitter as well, so hopefully see you there too!