So all you noble people who don’t want anything for themselves for Christmas – you’re all a bunch of poops!
No, not really. You’re wise and grounded. There are too many things in this world, and I keep decluttering like mad, so what’s my problem?
I don’t have a shopping disorder. I do like to shop, I have bought too much in the past, but I haven’t gotten into debt over it, ordered stuff and never opened it, etc. I think maybe during times of grief, like when my brother died, I went out to shop a little obsessively, though it was the trips, more than the purchases, back then, and now that I have a hard time wandering stores I haven’t substituted Amazon, etc.
I think part of it was that shopping with my mother was one of the rare times we really had fun together. Even when we were little she would take Taffy and me into Philadelphia to the big department stores (Strawbridges, Gimbels, etc) and we should shop. For my mother, who was, fortunately, a bargain hunter, it was her major recreational activity, a way she could interact with people without interacting. She was very much devoted to her self-image as an intellectual, and she wasn’t interested in gardening, fiber crafts, cooking, outdoors, sports, visual arts, getting together with friends … She would read and she would shop and she would rage.
I remember one Saturday when she took us into Philadelphia (we lived in Princeton but we’d moved from Philadelphia so we tended to focus there rather than NYC), We’d had a fabulous time – gone out for a fancy lunch, I’d gotten a beautiful pink easter dress (god, I loved that dress!) and arrived home to find my father passed out on the floor, and everything came crashing down . There are certain moments that stick out in a child’s memory (I must have been around ten) and that’s one of them.
So, since I’m spending all my time giving stuff away, why do I have a big Christmas list? Part of it is that we’re so tight for cash that I can’t just get what I want. We’ve been spending $2,500 more than we bring in each month, and that’s just about the amount for Tim’s rent and food and Daniel’s college loans. But Tim just got approved for SSI and disability and Daniel’s got a job he likes, so things are looking up. But I still have to double and triple think every purchase and then still probably not get it. Here’s my list:
Ha! Okay, I can’t cut and paste, but I laughed when I looked at it. I thought I was being so fucking greedy, but what I’d chosen was $15 Thor’s Hammer, three craft books, a couple of crochet patterns, a set of fabric stamps, and a cd of Danish Christmas carols. There are a couple of things that cost about $25 and the rest are about $10. So I guess my soul-searching about my shopping and acquisition needs was totally unnecessary. I think buying stuff for creativity/craft is excellent, except when you substitute buying for doing. For instance, I spent years buying fabric and books (and even then I paced myself – I’m a bargain shopper too). But a book on learning a new technique or a tool for doing it (the fabric stamps) is stretching you rather then hemming you in with stuff.
All right, none of this is terribly interesting for you, and that’s okay. It’s a way for me to work things out, which is exactly what this did today, and I feel less grabby, and delightfully righteous.
Anyway, it’s Christmas, and since I’m a Christmas fanatic I tend to think about Christmas-y things. Today I’ll decorate plain sunglasses with christmas stuff just for giggles. Ho ho ho.
Which reminds me, I once made matching nightshirts for the kids with xmas fabric that said “ho ho ho” but I forgot to pay attention to direction when I cut it out, so the kids had xmas nightshirts that said “oh oh oh”.
Off I go in my sleigh. Er … to shop.