No More Stuff! (For Now.)

by

I remember when we actually used to dine at this dining room table.

Sweet mid-January! Oh, how I adore you! Your, bleak, gray, frigid days notwithstanding. It’s a small price to pay for not having to worry about any more BLEEP-ing presents.

From the day after Thanksgiving until my son’s birthday in early January, it seems like I’m either shopping for gifts, hiding gifts, wrapping gifts, opening gifts, watching people open gifts, or — and this is the real challenge — trying to find somewhere in my house to put said gifts. By this point even the sound of wrapping paper crinkling can push me over the edge.

All this gift-giving stresses me out. I get stressed trying to think of what to buy for my loved ones. Then I get stressed trying to keep them from finding the presents. Wrapping the gifts really stresses me out. Besides being a sub-par wrapper, it’s always a challenge finding the time to wrap everything when no one else is around. Heck, I even get stressed when they’re opening the gifts. Will they even like them? Do they already have one of those? Did I get them enough? It’s all just so…so…well, stressful. 

I even get stressed out when I’m the one getting the gifts. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the anticipation and excitement of opening a present. But at my age, I pretty much have everything I need. That said, you still have to be polite and pretend you’re excited, no matter what you uncover beneath that wrapping paper.

“Oh, yay! A new electric toothbrush! You know, I’ve always wanted one of these!”

I didn’t always used to be like this. I used to be a big fan of this culture of gifting. Of course, back then I only had to receive the gifts. I left the giving part up to Santa, my parents, and all the other Big People in Adultland. And I certainly never worried about where I’d put all my new toys. They’d be everywhere! Anywhere! The more the better!

Somewhere along the line, however, I began to realize that less really is more. Strange, but I believe it was right around the time my wife and I had children. All of a sudden our house began to shrink. Space was at a premium. And as more and more stuff somehow found its our way into our house, I began to turn away from consumerism toward minimalism (except, that is, in the case of vintage typewriters and vinyl LPs).

Even if we somehow manage to survive Christmas and find somewhere to put all the new stuff in our home, before you know it it’s The Animal’s birthday. And, much like his father at the same age, the boy likes his presents. It doesn’t matter that he already got every new toy imaginable just a few weeks before. He still wants more! And why not? He’s a kid, after all. And there’s nothing like seeing the joy in a kid’s eyes when he opens that new toy he’s been hoping for.

Besides, good ol’ Dad will figure out where to put it. Maybe.

That’s why I love mid-January so much. At last we’ve reached the official end of Gift-Giving Season. The annual flood of stuff has finally subsided, and now we can slowly begin to figure out where to put all this crap before the waters begin to rise again.

Remember: only 342 shopping days until Christmas! ~

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Copyright © 2019 Valentine J. Brkich

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