Celebrating without Consumption


Or why my son didn't wear a new outfit for the first day of school. 

Today is Griffin's first day of kindergarten. He had pancakes for breakfast, as requested. He walked in excitedly with me and Nicholas. He greeted his friends and found his classroom.

One thing he didn't do was wear a new outfit. 

First and foremost, he didn't need one. I am incredibly blessed to have two dear friends with two boys apiece who pass down boxes and boxes of clothes to me every season. I am swimming t-shirts, shorts, shoes, and swim trunks. I would estimate there are currently 30-40 shirts hanging in my son's closet right now ranging from Mario t-shirts to collared button downs for church. Griffin calls them "pick-me-ups" and loves the idea that he and Amos wear the same clothes as his buddies Jack and David.

So, on the most basic financial level, I couldn't justify purchasing clothes we simply do. not. need.

Then, I started to worry I was denying Griffin some important rite-of-passage. Sure, I don't remember what I wore to my first day of kindergarten but I'm guessing I picked it out. Plus, didn't I want to participate in the annual shopping trip tradition? I still remember taking Griffin to pick out "Pete the Cat" converse sneakers for his first day of preschool. We had a blast and he was so proud of his new shoes. 

However, I also worry that too often I use consumption to celebrate important events. We buy an ice cream cone on the last day of school. We earn trips to the toy store with good behavior. 

Griffin doesn't know you're "supposed to" have a new outfit for the first day of school. Why should I teach him that? He picked out his own outfit from clothes that already made him feel good. Why should spending money be part of the equation?

Look, I'm not opposed to all purchases. We went school supplies shopping and let him pick out his folder colors. Obviously, I'm not opposed to all back-to-school gear and he absolutely loves his brand-new backpack, which he needed since his last one was falling apart. 

I just decided on top of all the new purchases and experiences a new outfit was superfluous. And I'm glad we took the time we would have spent roaming the aisles of T.J.Maxx checking a few more items off our summer list.  

 What about you? Are new outfits mandatory or do you skip them? We're having a great discussion on Facebook!