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Blog Posts Tagged: stuff

who bought all these dang presents, anyway???

It can’t possibly have been me.  I don’t believe in getting kids a lot of stuff.  Love, yes; stuff, no.  I carefully consider my consumption choices and consciously conserve.  Right?

Plus, I’m very aware of all the useful things money can buy besides more stuff for middle class American children: food for the hungry, medicine, clothing.  Real things that meet real needs.  So, I’m opposed to excess stuff.

Yeah… but this year I seem to have excepted books, art supplies, useful tools, and board games from the category of “stuff.”  I have a few excuses; want to hear them?

  1. Prolonged stress (such as, say, being a divorced single mom) can lead to memory lapses.  Economic constraints (such as, say, being a divorced single mom) compel the early purchasing and hiding of holiday gifts.  There’s the problem: out of sight, out of mind.  At holiday time, a routine review of likely hiding spots reveals multiple surprise items.  In other words, I forgot, okay?
  2. Lack of external, adult validation (common in, for example, divorced single moms) can lead to skewed judgment.  When you know that your entire holiday is going to be witnessed and judged by under-12’s, it’s discombobulating.  If, ten minutes after arriving at my home on Christmas day, they are all staring vacantly at a handful of unwrapped, earth-friendly, low-impact, handmade gifts, will they feel the gifts of love and time?  Or will they just think it was a sucky Christmas this year?  Yea, I’m a little bit insecure.  (You are too, you know it.  I’m just saying it out loud.)
  3. Despite my carefully cultivated (not to mention expensive) critical thinking skills, I am still vulnerable to group-think.  The whole world was out shopping last week.  I caught the virus.  It didn’t take me down, but I caught it enough to do my bank account some damage.  In other words, I’m human.  And I exist in a context.  And that context normalizes the procurement of excess stuff.

So, the shallow magic of Christmas over-consumption will reign at my house tomorrow when the kids arrive from my X's house, for at least 20 minutes, 30 if I’m lucky.  I know I could be doing the kids a disservice by having too many gifts under the tree.  But, hey, at least they are almost entirely plastic-free.  Mostly almost.

Then, while we wait for the hormone-free, all-natural ham to bake, we’ll curl up on the couch with one of the new books, and if I’m really lucky, we’ll have 20 minutes, maybe even 30, where the kids feel the real magic for the non-religious, the time-and-love magic. 

Wishing that magic for each and every one of you.  May pain and fear take a day off.  May you have time, and love.

Merry Christmas.


p.s.  That's NOT a new dog under the tree.  That's the old dog, who busted into her gift early.

Tags: Christmas, consumption, holiday, magic, stuff

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