‘Tis the Season for Waste

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 catalogsmailboxes 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!

16 thoughts on “‘Tis the Season for Waste

  1. From the moment T was born I started the policy if clearing out the old. He grew up knowing that there were new toys coming so he got to pick out a ton of toys to donate so they could go make some other kid happy. He loved doing it and knowing that he was helping others out. To this day he is still really good about donating items, which warms my heart! And, I go over board with him during Christmas. I can’t help it! 🙂

    • I talk to my daughter all the time about passing on to those that are less fortunate but she’s not down with it so much 😉 may have to do a force job and find a place where she can come with me and see who will get the items.

    • I couldn’t find an email address on your blog to say thanks for the pin on toy donations..sweet of you to think of us. I actually cleaned out her toys while she was in school yesterday. It was a BIG clean-out and when I picked her up from school, I talked to her about it and she was cool with it but I was afraid when she actually saw all of the items, the story would change. But it didn’t, there was one blue horse stuffie she wanted to keep, but other than that, she was great about it. yay!

      • Yay! I saw that pin and was like “oh yeah, send this over!” I’m glad that she was okay with it – and if she only wanted one item back, well that’s a huge win! kateandmrt@yahoo.com is my email – in case you need it again!
        I’m glad that you took it in the spirit of which it was intended, I saw it and thought of your blog – there was no hidden motive or sass in it! 🙂

  2. Oh my gosh – don’t get me started. Our poor mailman in Vegas must hate us. We’re often back here in Toronto for 4-6 weeks (sometimes longer) before returning (and emptying our mailbox at the condo). That box is full to the point you couldn’t fit a single letter in there — stuffed with flyers and catalogues. Such a complete waste of paper.

  3. I’m about to start the de-clutter process of 5 years worth of toys and all things kiddy. I am not looking forward to it much as my two eldest are exactly the same, they go into complete meltdown if something is to be given away. The crazy thing is they have just started playing again with all the things that have been left neglected for ages! For me it’s more of a question of lack of space and feeling like we are living in hoarders land but it doesn’t help that I find it so hard to clear out things as I always find a sentimental value for everything or worry that we may just need it later on down the line!

  4. Such a good post. I completely agree with you – it is such a lovely holiday season, but the feeling that we are being so wasteful is hard to resolve. You’ve inspired me to do a lot of unsubscribing from lists though! x

  5. Kerry, there is an essay competition /”Do We Have Too Much Stuff?”/ exactly on this topic (I already entered my essay) if you are interested, have a look at it:
    I think it is a great idea to eventually take your kids to see children who are in big need of clothes, toys or even food. We are always more committed to topics which connects with us on a personal level.
    xoxo, Eszter

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