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IQ: Going Thoreau 

We've been bombarded for close to two months with messages about how we need to buy stuff and more stuff just to be happy. And we also need to buy a whole bunch of stuff so everyone around us will be happy too. The most ironic campaign this season is that Grinch merchandise is being marketed everywhere, just because Hollywood made a movie about the Dr. Seuss story of how people can never find true happiness in things. Huh? In reality, most of us find that when we have kindness, encouragement and faith, we really don't need much more than that. Except maybe just one fun new toy.

click to enlarge Seth Maggard
  • Seth Maggard

Seth Maggard
Student
Neighborhood: Central

What's the best nonmaterial gift you plan to give this season? A massage.

Who will be the recipient? My girlfriend.

In what area of your life are you a minimalist? In my consumption; my purchasing of new products. Products in general.

How much stuff do you need to be happy? Surprisingly little; a dufflebag-full. I seem to collect a lot more, but I don't think I need any of it to be happy.

How much stuff does your significant other need to be happy? Even less.

click to enlarge Louis Martinez
  • Louis Martinez

Louis Martinez
Truck driver
Neighborhood: Colorado Springs

What's the best nonmaterial gift you plan to give this season? Probably nothing. Everything I have to go pay for.

In what area of your life are you a minimalist? I guess all parts of my life -- I'm not very outspoken.

How much stuff do you need to be happy? Not much; my sleeping bag, survival gear stuff.

How much stuff does your significant other need to be happy? Lots. The house, the furniture, the car, the job.

click to enlarge Connie Fairchild
  • Connie Fairchild

Connie Fairchild
Therapist
Neighborhood: Downtown

What's the best nonmaterial gift you plan to give this season? I've been inviting friends over for wine and cheese and fruit, to my home. I decided I would rather spend time with people than gift-giving. I am giving some gifts, don't get me wrong. Some you just can't avoid.

In what area of your life are you a minimalist? Mostly it's in my ideology. In my ideology we'll have arrived at a higher lever of consciousness when what is honored in our society is the inverse of what's honored now. Like living simply, close to the Earth, really in commune with nature ... right now it's the reverse. The more you've got, the more "cool" you are.

How much stuff do you need to be happy? For me, I need a certain amount of financial freedom to know that I can play in life.

How much stuff does your significant other need to be happy? The people that I tend to be drawn to live more simply.

click to enlarge Sue Jennaro
  • Sue Jennaro

Sue Jennaro
Homemaker
Neighborhood: University Park

What's the best nonmaterial gift you plan to give this season? I plan to make some phone calls to some old friends that need some cheering-up around Christmas.

In what area of your life are you a minimalist? I love to clean out the house once a year and get rid of things to garage sales and Goodwill. And then I have just what I need after I've finished that process.

How much stuff do you need to be happy? I need family and friends and a feeling of peace in my soul.

How much stuff does your significant other need to be happy? He needs golf clubs. And I think he'd like a sports car.

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