Service of Self Restraint

November 30th, 2017

Categories: Christmas, Flowers, Food, Frugality, Gifts, Holidays, Self Restraint


Many stretch their money to give a little or big something to family and friends at this time of year. If you don’t put self restraint to work, you literally pay the price. I had a great idea for a gift for 2 good friends but to implement it meant spending a ridiculous sum. It’s not every day you think of the perfect gift for people who have everything but common sense said “move on.” I did so far.


There’s a new bakery that also sells sandwiches and salads near my office. I’ve been in twice to reconnoiter and I’ve left empty handed. One small beautiful pastry, that may or may not be tasty, costs what a scrumptious, though not as glam, cake does at Trader Joe’s. The price of an éclair, gone in two bites–far smaller than standard size–is $4.95.


I love flowers but daily pass by the many delis that sell tempting sunflowers and roses in peach, yellow and magenta. It makes no sense to buy them for myself. In summer, our apartment gets too hot when we’re not home so they don’t last long and in winter, the shock of the overheated apartment, when they come in from the cold, kills them pronto. And anyway, I have a collection of orchids, many of which, as I write, show signs of blossoms to come. When they bloom in winter I’m enchanted. In spring I cut daffodils, lilacs, peonies and daisies.

Self restraint isn’t any easier if faced with dietary restrictions. It rarely fails: people are forced to give up things they most love to eat. Was anyone advised to avoid grouse or liver ? [the two foods I most dislike].

Are you good at self-restraint? What are your tricks for avoiding temptation?



9 Responses to “Service of Self Restraint”

  1. JBS Said:

    Not to be critical, but do Delis in NYC sell flowers? In Minnesota, it’s florists. Just wondering.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I can’t tell you how long delis throughout the city have sold flowers but it’s been many years. They cheer up neighborhoods as in most seasons, they are on the sidewalk. We also have florists galore, and grocery stores sell flowers as does Home Depot [though the latter plants, not cut flowers]!

  3. ASK Said:

    I certainly can pass on a 2-bite eclair, but not on a bouquet of peonies!

  4. Judith B Schuster Said:

    Check out Target for gift ideas for your friends, you may not want to buy it there, but at least it might give you an idea.

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Peonies are spectacular. The ants that open up the blossoms are no doubt gone once they reach a deli or florist. Dahlias can also take my breath away. At the farmer’s market on East 47th Street, they sell the large ones three for $30. And their “large” are half the size some friends of ours grow in their amazing garden.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Target is a good resource and inspiration for gifts as is TJ Maxx–but not the TJM I’ve visited in NYC.

  7. Hank Goldman Said:

    “I can resist anything… But temptation!“

  8. Lucan Said:

    I’m no better at resisting temptation than anybody else. I have found that the only effective way to avoid it is not to shop at all, and if you do have to buy milk, make sure you only buy milk when you do go to the store. It’s amazing how well you can do without whatever it is you want when you don’t really need.

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:


    That advice to not shop at all is great if you have staff or family members who shop for you. I just bought some excellent baked ham from a deli I like. As I waited for the counterman to slice it, I saw that “Lorraine Swiss Cheese” was on sale. My Dad was born in Lorraine, and I was tempted to buy it but I didn’t because I already have plenty of cheese. Sure was tempted though!

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