It's easy to trace these things back to their origins- wool from sheep, wood from trees, flour from grain, bread from the work of your hands and the heat of the oven- and to feel the gratitude that comes from being so close to the source of what sustains you.
There are, of course, some things that we may not have the ability or desire to possess in its natural, raw, or homemade state... however, there are opportunities every day to make a choice in favor of something closer to a more unrefined product... especially around the holidays.
In leaning away from the disposable, meaningless, place-holding 'I-have-no-idea-what-is-expected-so-I'll-just-grab-this-thing' mindset, we could decrease quantity, increase quality, and make our holidays more simple and more special... and who doesn't want that?
So, mid-prep in the holiday whirlwind, I find myself (as frequently as possible) asking these three questions: Is it useful? Is it special? Is it going to last? If I can say 'yes' to two out of three, I know I'm on the right track.
Of course, I'm not anywhere close to being able to apply this to every area of my life, and it would be pompous of me to think I was. However, as I think about the life I want to build for my family, I can't escape this philosophy, and I think the fact that I circle back around to it time and time again means there is a truth in it for me, for us. If, in following this path, I can find a way to teach my children that life is more than what you own, how much you spend, how easily it can be disposed of, and how much more you can acquire, I believe they will not just learn but know respect, contentment, and gratitude, and that is a lesson worth seeking.