retail me not: avoiding the mall and embracing the real spirit of Christmas

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I’m finding that since wrapping up my decluttering challenge for 2011, I’m twisting in the wind.  I suppose December is a poor time to be left with idle hands and no project on the go.  This time of year is like a siren song to a reformed shopper.  Every time I leave my house, I walk by stores that are decorated beautifully for the holidays, but all of them are calling out to all of us to spend money on things we don’t need or to buy things for other people who don’t need anything else cluttering up their lives either.  I’m especially drawn to stores (and the items contained therein) that claim to make entertaining friends and family easier or more enjoyable – hence my most recent purchase of a box of pre-made gingerbread people with all of the accoutrements necessary for decorating these cute little guys and girls.  I had visions of having friends over with their kids to decorate the cookies and everyone going home warm from hot chocolate and fuzzy from the sugar high of eating the aforementioned cookies.  Alas, I decorated them myself on Friday night.  And my family and I ate them over the weekend.  Clearly, I have issues.

I’m not afraid to admit the atmosphere of the holidays makes me feel overwhelmed.  While I try to focus on the merry and the jolly aspects of Christmas for the sake of my children, I find that I feel more pressure at this time of year to buy things (clothes, home furnishings and toys) than at any other time of the year.  Luckily for me, December is already half over.  But I’m finding myself thinking about shopping every single day.  I know from previous years that these feelings fade by the time Christmas day has arrived, so I’m not worried that my feelings are anything out of the ordinary.  However, it is a bit strange to acknowledge that I currently have a little voice in my head telling me that I need to go shopping.  That I need to buy things for my home in order for me to have a happy holidays.  That I need to buy toys and other gifts for my children in order for them to have an amazing Christmas.  I try to remind myself that I spent over $400 on clothing for my kids last Christmas, and after opening all their gifts they promptly asked (that same morning), “But where are the toys?”  I’ve learned that having high expectations around gift giving (and receiving) ends up being a bit of a letdown, but apparently that isn’t stopping my psyche from entertaining all of the marketing that is being driven into our brains during this holiday season that tells us we should be shopping until we drop.

So instead of letting that little voice get me down and make me feel like I am depriving myself and my family of the spirit of Christmas by not rushing out to the stores to shop, I am looking to the future.  I’m planning for another challenge for 2012, which will help us focus on not only maintaining our clutter-free home, but will allow us to stay in our little home as long as we want to stay here (even though by all accounts, our family should have long outgrown our small space).  I’m hoping this vision of a new challenge will get me through the next two weeks without a last minute dash to the mall to alleviate my fears and anxiety about not shopping at Christmas.  I’m going to make myself a homemade eggnog latte and put on some Christmas music, which hopefully will be enough to talk me down from the ledge where I am perched with my credit cards and loyalty cards clutched close to my chest.

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5 responses »

    • Thanks! I am a real fan of giving food and other consumables as gifts, because as you said, they eat it and it’s gone! No clutter to worry about with that type of gift, and you still get the sentiment of gift giving. Happy holidays!

  1. “I’m not afraid to admit the atmosphere of the holidays makes me feel overwhelmed.”

    I’m having full blown panic attacks and I always do this time of year which means I’m not even fit to drive to a mall. Thank goodness! Next year let’s drink eggnog lattes and shelter the Christmas storm together! I can’t wait to hear about your new project. Hope the planning gets you through the rest of December.

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