Wednesday, December 21, 2011

You can't have everything... where would you put it?*

We've reached that time of year when I'm hyper-aware of being different from the rest of society.

Not because I'm Jewish and I don't celebrate Christmas.  I got over that a long time ago.  In fact, I'm not sure it ever really bothered me at all. 

No, it's because I hate the whole focus on buying shit and giving gifts. 

Honestly, the last thing most of us need is more stuff. 

I don't need chocolate or candies or baked goods wrapped up in celophane.  I appreciate people's thoughtfulness, but I don't eat it.  It goes in the office breakroom or in the trash. 

I don't need tchotchkes or jewelry.  I don't wear jewelry.  I don't put out tchochkes (with a few exceptions -- love my Romanian pottery, mom!). 

My children don't need more toys or electronics.  (Clothes are a different story - they grow like weeds).  They already have obscene quantities of *things* and they barely play with the stuff they have.  Most of their toys end up with missing pieces or sit languishing in the bottom of a box. 

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not an ascetic.  I like nice things and I am actively trying to grow a business so I can make more money.  I'd like a newer car.  Nothing flashy, but something that is newer than 11 years old (we don't have a car newer than that), so I'm not always waiting for the next thing to break and cost me a shit-ton on repairs.  I'd like to be able to replace the windows on my house, because the old ones are ancient and barely functional.  I'd like to get out of debt.

But the main thing I want is more time.  More freedom.   Time to read, time to practice my banjo, time to ski, time to spend with my children and my friends and my family.  Freedom to travel or take classes or volunteer.  I'm getting there, bit by bit, day by day.  Not there yet, but I will be.

On that note, Happy Hannukah, all!  I wish you health and happiness and joy and love and music and dancing and fun.  Not so much on more stuff.

What about you? Do you get into the holiday gift-giving spirit, or are you a scrooge like me? 

*This quote is from the comedian Stephen Wright.


  1. I am so with you. I am NOT a Christmas person - we have enough stuff, thank you, and really, when we seriously WANT (or need something), we tend to buy it just then. So this time of year feels like wracking my brain to try to think of something to buy for someone else. Ick.

    Wishes to you, right back, for all the important things in life.

  2. I'm with you too. Hell, when I'm out shopping for other folks, I end up buying stuff for myself because I know that no one will actually buy me what I want and I'll end up returning their shit. One year I bought everyone the Heifer gifts because I honestly felt that they didn't need more shit, and it pissed everyone off. Go figure.

  3. I love everything about Christmas except the gift insanity. I love the tree, the sparkles, the food - everything. But the STUFF is always overwhelming. This year we are giving very few and very practical presents, except to Jordan, who is getting a train set. Like you said, mostly we need and want TIME.

  4. I love giving special gifts that really mean something to someone, or that people love but would never buy for themselves. But I hate the tiny, obligatory stuff. And all the crap you mentioned. I am def anti-STUFF. Just seeing the tchotchkes at Target gives me agita.

  5. Oops, above was me, not Fred.
    He was logged in.


  6. Ann - agreed. If there's something that I know someone wants and it will really mean something to them, I LOVE getting it for them. But little pieces of nothing just for the sake of giving *something*? No way.

  7. Glenn B.1:38 PM

    I love giving gifts, so I always buy too much on Christmas, which is unfortunate. And I'm constantly bemoaning the clutter of crap in our house. And honestly, couldn't one always use more time to practice one's banjo?

  8. Glenn - there aren't enough hours in the day. I'm taking lessons now and constantly lamenting the lack of time to do everything - work my 9-5, keep the house in order, spend time with the family, work my coaching business, play music, exercise. *sigh* Merry Christmas, by the way!

  9. Didn't know you were such a minimalist!

    I struggle with this one...I don't need more crap and don't have any money especially this year to buy a lot of stuff, but I also can't imagine x-mas without the unwrapping. It's just fun to unwrap some stuff and be surprised and see other people unwrap stuff you got for them.

    So, I spent not a lot of money on small things that people could actually use, and directed them to get me things I will actually use, but may not always splurge on for myself (like, ummm, good whiskey!).

  10. Glenn B.7:41 AM

    I always thought you were a renaissance chick, Wendy!