Less is more.

Last night as I unplugged the tree I couldn’t help but notice how much less was beneath it compared to last year. At this realization, I smiled the whole way up the stairs and while I got ready for bed.

Yep. There are fewer presents beneath my tree this year and I couldn’t be happier. Sure its always fun to see a beautifully decorated tree with colorfully wrapped presents adorned with shiny bows and ribbons cascading out from under. But sometimes those mounds of gifts that may bring joy NOW, bring nothing but stress and misery in the months to follow when the bills come due.

I have known such misery. Maybe you have too. I have heard the scraping sound of the shovel digging deeper into the soil of my hard-earned resources. And I have peered into the hole as it grew deeper and deeper and deeper based on my poor decisions or lack of restraint.

Unlike many, I am fortunate that I have not lost my job or experienced a large financial shifting of any kind. But I am proud to say that the practices and wisdom of people like my mother and Lee—being my polar opposites when it comes to financial discipline and discernment—have begun rubbing off on me. The encouragement from my father to make smarter choices has helped as well. I am truly seeing the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel! And it feels both peaceful and exhilarating!

Fewer packages beneath the tree means I did not overextend myself by buying things I can’t afford or borrowing from my future to pay for my “present.” The people I love will still receive gifts from me, just not quite as much. Since when does the amount you spend reflect the amount of love you feel for someone? Since always I suppose. Since we’ve learned to worship the almighty dollar and ALL the “things” it can garner us… if only we had MORE.

I like having things and taking trips and spending money. In fact, I LOVE IT. A little too much. And just like everyone else… I want more. But I have to ask myself: How much more is enough? When does more cease being more if it comes at such great a price?

It has taken me almost 37 years, but I think I finally understand how less may actually be more. In learning to love the having of less… we make room in our lives for the enjoyment of financial freedom, peace of mind and so much more.