The holidays are upon us. Early October seems to be the kickoff of the holiday season. From October through January is a hustle and bustle time of planning, fun, and gifts. We start the season trying to scare people and “Boo!” them out of their wits, then we feel thankful that they are still our friends and spend a month expressing gratitude and end the year with over-the-top extravagance that completely wears us out until we start to feel like the zombie we dressed up as only a couple of months before. I charge forward in my zombie state through December planning for Christmas and my daughter’s upcoming birthday in January until I collapse in February just in time to recharge for filling out Valentines.
I’m really not a cynic about holidays, in fact, I love them! I believe that life can be mundane at times and holidays and birthdays give us reason to celebrate in any fashion. I love decorating for almost all holidays because it is simply fun and my kids enjoy it. But, there is a part of me that holds disdain for how material and wasteful all the holidays have become. Some stores give us a moment post-Halloween to catch our breath from all the sugar intake while most of the others immediately inundate us with Christmas paraphernalia before we have even packed away our face paint.
No more than a few days into November, the catalogs start arriving and clogging up our mailboxes and recycling bins. I actually spent a large portion of time while pregnant with my first child emailing every single catalog company that arrived in my mailbox asking to be removed from their mailing list. It took a lot of time but I was committed to saving paper and my sanity by ridding ourselves of the trash and extreme consumerism. I tend to get very focused on seemingly benign projects when pregnant. When pregnant with my son, I spent many hours researching and learning about chicken breeds, but that story can wait for another time. Still, after all of my hard work, I did not make any impact whatsoever because here we are again with loads of catalogs featuring basically all of the same items.
I feel anxiety just looking at this stack of magazines. They represent many things to me…starting with trash. It is aggravating to receive mail that goes directly into the recycling bin. Even if it gets recycled, lots of ink and processing materials were wasted plus the shipping costs associated. And why do we need catalogs anymore when we have the internet to search for the exact item we want or browse until our heart’s content. Second, they represent all of the crap that my kids will now want from seeing it on the glossy pages, the crap that I will have to buy then watch collect dust until I finally decide to pass it on.
In addition to the thought that we are about to unload lots of cash on stuff my kids don’t need, I also realize that we need to clean out all of the stuff they don’t play with to make room for new stuff they won’t play with. But when I mention this to my daughter she goes into a mini-hoarder’s panic over giving away her beloved dusty toys. Granted, my kids do occasionally rotate around their toys but they truly do not need anything else. Yet, how could I deny them of gifts from Santa?
I admit I actually enjoy buying toys. They are one of my favorite things to buy; I love walking the toy store but feel a sense of guilt at how much waste goes on from Halloween through January, in particular. I am not sure exactly how to remedy this situation. Maybe I should start with the catalogs and plug through emails again asking to be removed from their mailing lists. Maybe I could find a DIY project to do with all of those shiny pages. Or maybe I could just show some restraint during the holidays and my daughter’s birthday. Likely, that won’t happen so I will just continue blaming the catalogs, works for me. Happy Holidays!