We do a lot of online shopping now. It is so convenient. I have never enjoyed shopping, and the thought of going to a mall and wandering around aimlessly has zero appeal for me. We also find we spend less, and buy fewer things we don’t need or want, when such items are not in front of us. We had the groceries delivered this morning. I had a birthday present for an upcoming child’s birthday delivered recently. I order nappies online (thankfully down to only one a night, and hopefully that will fade in the next year or so). For me, ordering necessities online is a timesaver that I really appreciate.
The last time I remember going to a real-life shop was going to the Catholic FLI gift shop to get a Bible for my son’s First Holy Communion gift! I thought that was special enough that it warranted a trip out, and I wanted to really see what they were like. The kids love going to the mall, and seeing all it has to offer, but that invariably ends up in disappointment or harassment as they beg for something we don’t see a need to buy. Clothes and shoes usually need to be tried on, especially for growing kids, so that’s a necessary trip to the shops right there.
Do we miss out on much in not trawling through the shops routinely? I can’t imagine so. In fact, it often makes me feel a little sick, to be honest, watching people spend money on stuff they really don’t need. We have so many toys at our house — we have plenty of loving homes to send them to, so very few end up in the landfill, but I do think we have too many!
What about clothes? Well, I have too many, my little girl has too many. The boys rotate through a very small selection of what they actually have to, so we frequently cull and hand on what they don’t routinely wear. I am a big fan of hand-me-downs to avoid wasted cost and items going to landfill unnecessarily. We are called to be responsible stewards on this planet.
It is so easy to get tied in to buying all sorts of things — clothing with labels, toys from the latest craze. You can feel quite compelled, as if like you “have to have it”, and that you really are missing out if you don’t get it. I’ve noticed the kids can be very caught up in this. It’s also really hard when they go to friends’ houses and see something their friend has that they perceive as cool or better, and then they feel they really want it. It’s a good chance to re-centre and remind them to feel grateful for what they do have.
The quote below from Matthew is a very timely reminder of not storing up treasures on earth. For when we die, as the old saying goes, we can’t take them with us. This is a timely reminder.
I think about it at Easter too. You can have too many Easter eggs and that is not healthy and, most importantly, detracts from the importance of the true meaning of Easter. Having one or two Easter eggs to celebrate is fun, but beyond that, I’m not sure we need them. For some people purchasing online means they buy more; for us, as above, that’s not the case, and we love the convenience. Even the Easter eggs were bought online this year.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” — Matthew 6:19–21.
Helen Luxford is a physician, working part-time. She is a parishioner of St Michael’s, Remuera. Together with her husband Michael, they are raising their children in the Catholic Faith and reflecting on the challenges and joys that brings.