Monday, January 7, 2013

Season's greedings

The tree is down and put away. All the extra stuff accumulated over the Christmas season is slowly being added to the excess of stuff we already own. The weather is colder, then warmer, but destined to get colder and more bitter as we lurch toward the full bite of winter. The bills from the holidays are trickling in, just as the car insurance, homeowner's insurance and real estate taxes make their first-of-the-year appearances. A trip to the mailbox fills us with dread and that sense impending doom.

So why the heck are we still hanging out at the malls looking for after-Christmas sales?

We just can't get enough of more new stuff can we? We can't always throw out the old stuff, especially if it's still functional in some capacity. But Christmas isn't the time for purging, it's the season of hoarding.  I'm looking in the mirror now when I say this. And my mini-me,  Earbaby, can't stop wanting more stuff, and somehow she keeps getting it. I feel like writing on the mirror in lipstick, STOP ME BEFORE I SPEND AGAIN!

We had a wonderful Christmas. I enjoy the holiday itself, despite the stressful buildup of cleaning up (hiding the junk) before my in-laws come over for the day. I'm blessed with wonderful in-laws, and a caterer to die for. It's my favorite holiday because we get to host many of our favorite people.

But it's also the toughest because of all the stuff. EB cleaned up this year as always. The  absence of Santa Claus (her first full year as an official no-longer believer) didn't shorten her wish list, which grew from only wanting one extravagant set of headphones (she didn't get them) to wanting more expensive footwear than a person without a job had a right to own.

No matter. She came away more than satisfied with what she got, as did I. My husband outdid himself for both of us, even though I told him, really, this year, I want nothing (and no, I didn't give it back).

And yet, the money is still flying out of our wallets like geese heading south for the winter. Those dead presidents though fly farther and faster into the retail shops (curse you Target), as we buy more stuff before we can put the Christmas stuff away. We have to buy new accessories for the new stuff. We have to buy new storage bins because the original cardboard Christmas tree box just won't cut it anymore after six or seven years. EB went to a dance and wanted to buy a new top to wear (she didn't get it, there are new never-worn tops still in her closet). But she still managed to find other stuff she needed.

Now comes the seasonal affective disorder, not just of gray, cold days and little sunlight, but that stark cold reality of having to pay the piper.

I wish I could be a better example for EB on this. I wish I could go past a Target without going in. I wish I could walk into a CVS for one item and walk out with just the one, and only one thing I went in for. I wish the footfalls of the mail carrier didn't make my expression change to one of a deer in the headlights.

And I wish EB wouldn't keep talking about what she now wants for her birthday in March. Maybe by the time it rolls around though, I'll have finally gotten everything put away from her Christmas motherlode.

Dear Santa, next year, really, just bring me peace on earth. A little goodwill toward all should take up a lot less room. Maybe it could even fit in that little space left under the bed.

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