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Careful thought before Christmas spend

November 7, 2009

It’s a rare thing me and Significant Other discuss the idea of doing as mundane a weekend chore as clearing the attic and then actually follow through by carrying out the task.

Forty-five minutes focussed attention on our near to capacity attic resulted in us collecting sufficient tat for one trip to the nearby dump.

More telling however was the predictable and tiresome guilty feeling experienced which I hope this year might act as the final reminder I need of how to confront the oncoming onslaught of Christmas.

I used to go mad at Christmas, spending ridiculous amounts of money on presents for other people convinced that personal happiness could only be assured if I was handing out a gift.
Christmas somehow turned into a stressful experience, thinking of what to buy people and when I’d made my purchases worrying their paltry value would reveal a lack of care for both the process and the recipient.

A few years ago however, during a similar attic clearance splurge (we didn’t make it to the more emotionally demanding items from my childhood which need to be discarded) both me and Significant Other stumbled on some gifts we’d bought each other five or so years before.

Two boxed games which had seemed the perfect accompaniment for winter evenings, had gone on a strange journey shop to our living room, where they were wrapped and then unwrapped. They’d been moved up to the attic for storage shortly after that and now, five or so years later we looked at the dust covered boxes wondering whether we should throw them out or not.

Why had we bought them? When was the moment when our sub-conscious said “the best place for that now Christmas is over is up in the attic” ? Had the purchase represented less of an offering to a loved, more an addition to a burgeoning collection of christmas ‘decorations’ which would, themselves, have to be thrown out one day?

The same thing happened today when we both stumbled on an even older gift which missed the earlier splurge. The same thoughts came flooding back. The mini-pinball machine seemed brilliant fun on Christmas Day with a few glasses of champagne and a plate of smoked salmon. Now it looked sorry and unloved in the attic.

Something has to change. I don’t want to go through any more Christmasses being forced on to a metaphorical bandwagon purchasing gifts with a limited shelf-life. We don’t have enough room in the attic. The guilt throwing things away a few years later is unbearable.

Couldn’t Christmas just be about a gesture and something a bit different to eat? Wouldn’t that be easier?

One Comment
  1. Oh god yes. Here’s a little something I wrote on the subject three years ago.

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