Every year, American families spend an average of $750 on costs related to Christmas, e.g., presents, decorations, Christmas cards, etc. That’s a lot of stuff. Not to be the Grinch, but here are a couple of things to consider as you buy more stuff this Christmas.

Stuff quickly goes from hunter’s orange to camouflage

I grew up in Alabama where it’s not uncommon to see people wearing camouflage and hunter’s orange. It hit me one day: When we first purchase something, it’s hunter’s orange. It’s bright, has our attention and we can’t help but notice it. As the new wears off, it fades in with the rest of our stuff. It becomes camouflage. When I got my first iPhone, figuratively, it was hunter’s orange.

I thought, this thing is so awesome, there is no way I will ever get used to it. But pretty soon, it went from hunter’s orange to camouflage. Quickly it became a phone, a useful phone, but nonetheless, a phone. The screen is now cracked and my 11-year-old uses it to play games. That unforgettable phone is now camouflaged with the rest of our stuff.

Stuff costs you more than money

We bought our current home out of foreclosure and totally remodeled it. We thought the task would be worth the effort because it was on a relatively large, cul-de-sac lot and we loved the home’s unique architecture.

While it is a great home, not only has it moved from hunter’s orange to camouflage, it makes up way too much of our monthly budget. We will stay in the house because it’s our kids’ home and we don’t want to go through the hassle of selling it. But at the end of the day, if we could magically go back to our previous home, we would. It would give us more margin to have fun as a family, among other things.

Stuff robs your time

The more stuff you have, the more you have to take care of. I know that is cliché, but it’s true! When we were first married we lived in a small apartment that we could clean from top to bottom in an hour. Not only was it easy to clean, we had no yard or exterior maintenance.

So every Saturday, we cleaned our little apartment in 60 minutes and the rest of the day was ours! Not now; there is always something to do around our house! Right now, there are leaves that need to be raked, walls that need painting, and a showerhead that is leaking.

So what’s the answer? Boycott buying Christmas presents? No. But I think it’s helpful, for me at least, to get a little perspective of what stuff can and can’t do.

What’s your thoughts on stuff?

Ted Lowe is an author, speaker, and the director of MarriedPeople—the marriage division at Orange. Ted is the author of two books—one for marriage ministry leaders (Married People: How Your Church Can Build Marriages That Last) and one for married couples (Your Best US: Marriage Is Easier Than You Think). He served for almost 10 years as the director of MarriedLife at North Point Community Church. He lives near Atlanta, Georgia, with his four favorite people: his wife, Nancie, and their three children.

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