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November 24, 2016 /

GratiThursday: What I don’t need

I postponed my weekly GratiTuesday post until today when we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States. So, just for today, this is a GratiThursday post.


As I took apart our newspaper this morning, I was struck by how many Black Friday ads it contained. Dollars off this, a huge percentage off that. Best of all, you can take advantage of these tremendous offers TODAY! Get to the stores early… fire up your computer… shop!

As I dumped all of the advertising flyers into our recycling bin, I thought about how grateful I am that I don’t need any of what was being advertised. I didn’t even really want any of it either.

At this stage of my life, I choose quality over quantity and I do more with less. Just like an artist knows the worth of incorporating negative space in their paintings or photographs, I don’t need to fill up all of the open spaces of my world. I have fallen in love with my life just the way it is.

I am so very grateful for the abundance in my life.



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  1. Liesbet / Nov 24 2016 1:53 pm

    Great post, Janis. It is truly “disgusting” how this society is still so consumer-based. Most people already have everything they need and then some. While everyone is shopping tomorrow, we will take advantage of hiking without the crowds! 🙂 Less is more, and we are happy with the few belongings we have. There is one problem with that gratitude, though… I have no idea what to ask for my birthday! I have everything I need and desire already.

    • / Nov 24 2016 6:38 pm

      I can’t imagine a worse place to be than a store or the mall tomorrow. Hiking sounds good. As far as gifts go, I usually ask for nothing other than a nice dinner or an experience. No need to find a place to put them away when done.

      • Liesbet / Nov 24 2016 7:56 pm

        Yep. I agree. Problem is my b-day is on a Monday this year and it will rain… So, we will have the dinner and the experience this weekend. 🙂

  2. Terri Webster Schrandt / Nov 24 2016 2:20 pm

    We completely ignore black Friday and just hang out at home away from the buzzing of people expecting shopping deals. I’m still fuming that many stores open their doors today at 6pm! This consumption addiction just takes families away from each other on Thanksgiving. Enjoy your day, Janis, and enjoy your blessings! ♡

    • / Nov 24 2016 6:45 pm

      Fortunately, Black Friday was never a “thing” in my family growing up so I never got used to the craziness. It seems so wrong to open on Thanksgiving, or even before the normal opening hours on the next day. The sales people should be able to enjoy their day too. I’ll be doing the same thing as you tomorrow: hanging out at home.

  3. Denise / Nov 24 2016 3:52 pm

    I too had a boatload of ads with my newspaper today. I left them on the floor for one son to rad and then my daughter-in-law took them home with her. I never read the ads. I just buy what I need when I need it. But I have an 81 year old friend who never lets a $$$ off coupon go to waste. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

    • / Nov 24 2016 9:30 pm

      I think there were more ads than real newspaper. I use coupons now and then, but most often I just forget. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving too!

  4. beth / Nov 24 2016 4:44 pm

    So very grateful to have long lasting friendships in my life, like yours! HTG!!

  5. Kate Crimmins / Nov 24 2016 5:10 pm

    I’m with you. Having shopped on Black Friday in years, maybe decades. I’m trying to convince my husband that we don’t need to exchange gifts this year. If I can do that, I don’t have to buy anything at all. Less is more.

    • / Nov 24 2016 9:20 pm

      Good luck! My husband and I don’t normally exchange gifts – we usually go for experiences. Maybe your husband would be open to that.

      • Kate Crimmins / Nov 25 2016 5:38 am

        I’ve been working on this for 5 years so I’m not holding out much hope…then again….last year I bought him slippers (how exciting) and gave him a gift certificate to any restaurant of his choice. He redeemed the coupon last week. It gets kind of silly if I give him an Amazon gift card and he gives me one back.

        • / Nov 25 2016 9:05 am

          I know! Our (all adult) family stopped giving gifts to everyone years ago. We then tried picking names and giving to just one person. Pretty soon, we were just exchanging cash cards. At that point we decided to scrap the whole thing. Now no gifts, and we are much happier.

          • Kate Crimmins / Nov 25 2016 10:55 am

            Lucky you! Around here Christmas is banking day when small amounts of money move around. If you are good, you will end up with what you started. I refuse to be involved in it.

  6. dconnollyislandgmailcom / Nov 24 2016 5:38 pm

    Hi, Janice – Your opening quote, post, and comments have truly resonated with me. I too agree that less is more. I am deeply thankful for the abundance (of non-material gifts) that I have in my life.

  7. dconnollyislandgmailcom / Nov 24 2016 5:38 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving!!

    • / Nov 24 2016 6:30 pm

      Thank you! I know you celebrated earlier. Currently, I’m in a food coma.

      • dconnollyislandgmailcom / Nov 24 2016 9:14 pm

        I LOVE food comas at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Especially the “after-dinner-couch” and the “after-dinner-blanket”! Sleep well!

  8. Anabel Marsh / Nov 25 2016 12:16 am

    So true. Black Friday has made its way over here in the last few years, unfortunately, and we are similarly bombarded with adverts – I find it totally bemusing.

    • / Nov 25 2016 8:28 am

      I somehow feel like I need to apologize for that. We should be sharing the best of our culture (fish tacos and guacamole, for instance), not the worse. Sorry about that. 🙂

      • Anabel Marsh / Nov 25 2016 9:25 am

        It’s ok, I don’t hold you personally responsible! 😉 We have also had good things from your side of the pond for which we are grateful. Though not for Trump and his golf courses. 😦

  9. lisadorenfest / Nov 25 2016 3:37 am

    I was thinking of you today and your gratitude practice. Knowing that everyone at home has just celebrated Thanksgiving, I wondered ‘does Janis have a GratiThursday’ so I came by to visit. And lo and behold, you had a great one! Love it, Tweeted it.

    • / Nov 25 2016 8:31 am

      Oh, you are so sweet. Thanks. Where you able to do anything Thanksgivingy at whatever exotic location you are now visiting?

      • lisadorenfest / Nov 25 2016 8:52 pm

        We enjoyed a fresh calamari supper on our boat now in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Not exactly Turkey in New England, but yummy none the less.

  10. laura bruno lilly / Nov 25 2016 5:37 am

    Great succinct post, Janis.

    I’m not one to do the ‘black friday’ thing…even before it got that official name…I understand about getting deals, but geesh. I confess I did try it one year, years ago when I was younger and thought I could handle all its atrocities as long as I focused on the one ‘great, needed deal’….never again!

    Anyway, having worked retail off and on throughout my life, the very idea of extending crazy-chaotic holiday-based shopping hours into the hours immediately following family feasts on Thanksgiving (some even started as early as 3:30pm!!!!!!!!) is more than outrageous. Those workers might get compensated, but believe me, by maybe .50cents more an hour. And how would you like to go into a war-zone working environment in a turkey-induced state of relaxation? Ya just might have to skip it altogether just to be in ‘shape’ to do your job and keep it.

    Just a very brief bit of my soapbox on this! 😀

    • / Nov 25 2016 8:36 am

      I got up at midnight once to join the throngs years ago. I wanted a new printer and figured the non-mall electronics shop that had the ad wouldn’t have huge crowds. I was wrong. Stood in line for over an hour to save – maybe – $20. Not a great use of my time. I also feel sorry for the sales people.

  11. Joanne Sisco / Nov 25 2016 6:13 am

    It’s wonderful irony that you are grateful for the abundance in your life – which includes a minimalism philosophy ❤
    We are so lucky to be able to make these choices.

    • / Nov 25 2016 8:43 am

      You are so right! I don’t need anything because I have so much. And, as I get older, I realize that having “a lot” isn’t so much about having “things.” I don’t think I can quite claim the minimalist title, though. I still have a long way to go.

  12. John / Nov 25 2016 8:10 am

    Janis I whole heartedly agree. The thing is up until four years ago we had never heard of Black Friday in the UK. Then some stores (I think it was Walmart owned ASDA stores) started it here and it’s now probably as bad as it is with you. The second year there were scenes of people fighting to get in stores and actually throwing punches attempting to grab a TV. It was sickening. Thanks for Breaking Bad, Bruce, Obama but really, do us a favour and take back Black Friday- a bad US import!Nice post.

    • / Nov 25 2016 8:48 am

      Yikes! Just as I responded to Anabel above, on behalf of my fellow citizens, we are so sorry! As great as Breaking Bad, Bruce, and Obama are, they can only go so far to make up for the US importing the worst of human behavior.

  13. rporter610 / Nov 25 2016 8:17 am

    Long live minimalism, recycling, reusing, repurposing!

    • / Nov 25 2016 8:51 am

      Yes! We all need new things now and then, but it would be great if we could at least get rid of the old stuff in as an environmentally conscious way as possible.

  14. Keith / Nov 25 2016 10:35 am

    Janis, I appreciate you and your words. I, too, love dumping the advertising flyers into the recycling bin. They never make it inside. Happy Black Friday not shopping. Keith

  15. snakesinthegrass2014 / Nov 25 2016 4:32 pm

    Here here– well said. Our gym is located in a shopping center that has several stores. After we worked out, my wife ran into a couple while I went into the supermarket to pick up a few things (full disclosure: a lottery ticket). She was back before I knew it, though. She said the stores were horrendously crowded, and she realized — like you — that she thankfully needed nothing. And so it goes. Great post, Janice. – Marty

    • / Nov 26 2016 9:33 pm

      I find myself avoiding being anywhere near a mall for a week or so after Thanksgiving. I do like to go at least one evening during the holidays, though, to see all the decorations and watch the kids. When you don’t need to buy anything, it’s much more enjoyable.

  16. patwdoyle11 / Nov 25 2016 5:41 pm

    I have to admit, I went to the mall on Wednesday afternoon. It was for a wedding present and I had a $50 off coupon plus items were 25-50% off; their coupons were good Wednesday to Saturday and prices were cut already on Wednesday because they needed to have the doorbuster signage up! That was worth it and the mall wasn’t very crowded.

    Hubby and I have a long-standing ritual on Black Friday – we go to one of the best art shows in the area. True quality. We talk with the artists; buy things occasionally. Today was a ceramic and glass lamp for a side table…I’m replacing an Ikea one with this one that has so much character. One in/one out! I love the event and it’s not very crowded – too many folks are going to the mall!

    I do love your last line in the post. Looking at all the ads (which hubby also commented overwhelmed the newspaper), I felt like – there is nothing here I need. No desire at all to shop the various stores and Christmas will be just a few small things. Hubby knows I have a weakness for cute earrings and he needs new snow boots! Yeah, nothing is a surprise but it’s nice to rip open some wrapping paper on Christmas day.

    • / Nov 26 2016 9:43 pm

      That art show tradition sounds great! I wish we had something similar around here. I have heard that the stores are less crowed this year. Like you found, the stores have strung out the Black Friday event over a few days. Plus so many people are shopping online.

  17. betsysbeat / Dec 1 2016 11:40 pm

    Amen, Janis! I am glad that the bulk of our discretionary spending nowadays is on “experiences” rather than “things.” Who needs more “stuff” at my age?!!

    • / Dec 2 2016 1:07 pm

      Definitely at our age, but I really wish I had learned the value of having less stuff when I was younger. I guess most of us need to have the wisdom of age in order to realize how little stuff matters.

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