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I am looking forward to some parts of Christmas--spending time with my family, eating good food. But the gift-giving parts, not so much. Not that I have a problem spending a little dough on my loved ones. But this year especially, I am not looking forward to being on the receiving end.

Back in January, I made a New Year's resolution to declutter one item a day for the entire year of 2013, and I am pleased to say I've kept that resolution. A lot of it was finding ten things to tie me over for the next ten days, then ignoring the resolution for a week and half. And sometimes, I would count four identical items as one day's item, while other times, I'd put the multiple identical items I wanted to ditch on different days, depending on how likely it was I'd fall behind in my resolution.

But yeah, December is a third over, and I'm finished for the year. You wouldn't know it to look at my place. I kept all my crap tucked away where no one could see it, so visually it hasn't changed all that much. But if you were to walk into the Good Will down the street from my place? It would be, like, House of Masq.

What really has changed is my feeling about "stuff." I don't want "stuff" for Christmas. The thought of it just viscerally turns me off. I want tickets to a show, or a gift card to a spa, or something else experiential. Enrich my life, don't clutter my house. My sister-in-law, bless her heart, got me some random stuff for my birthday that sad to say is going to end up in the Good Will box. I just have no use for it whatsoever, but I don't want to insult her by saying so. If I must have stuff, the annual trading-of-the-Amazon-gift-cards is A-Okay with me. I will purchase eBooks.

This may suck some of the fun out of Christmas. The Sculptor and I always play Santa for each other and fill each others' stockings. How many of her stocking stuffers ended up in the GW box after last Christimas and/or on the kitchen counter at work for other people to eat so I could maintain my girlish figure? Yeah, I'm kind of Scroogey that way now.

Not sure I will play 365 things next year. I was actually stunned I could always find stuff if I looked hard enough this year. I probably could find 365 more things if I put my mind to it, but it can be exhausting at times. What it did do was change the way I look at the importance of "gotta keep this in case I need it" and "gotta buy this!" And it makes me value the stuff I hung on to all that much more. So I'll carry one thing into 2014: a new attitude.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 11th, 2013 02:44 am (UTC)
Do people ask you what you want, or do they just guess? Because I'm thinking if they ask, it's a good time to tell them a short version of this. Maybe the people you're close to, you should just tell anyway. Put it in the context of decluttering and so forth. It's Christmas, they should want to make you happy. I'd rather someone tell me ahead of time what kinds of gifts they're definitely not interested in, rather than wind up getting them something they're not all that thrilled about.
Dec. 11th, 2013 05:04 pm (UTC)
I have told them this, yes. And normally at Christmas time, we all communicate what we want or don't want. To a ridiculous degree, in fact, because there are no surprises at all and we each get stuff we could have bought ourselves.

My GF and my SIL are another matter, though. They like surprises and surprising people and talking to them in advance doesn't seem to change a thing.

I didn't mention what I wanted for my birthday, because I did not expect gifts at all. So getting them from my SIL was a bit awkward, because I didn't expect them and they were all a bit WTF. But you just smile politely.
Dec. 11th, 2013 03:41 am (UTC)
The "stuff" thing makes a lot of sense. My sister and I had a similar discussion earlier - the bonus for her is that, now that she has a kid - she can give experential presents to stuff-laden grandparents in the form of things they can do with him.
Dec. 11th, 2013 05:06 pm (UTC)
I have been trying to give "experiential" gifts to my niece and nephew. Mostly because my Bro and SIL are not well off and sometimes can't afford the programs they want to sign the kids up for, so Aunt Masq and Grandma pay for them as gifts.

But it's difficult to wrap such things up and put them under the tree, and some people just want colorful packages. Lots and lots of colorful packages, because that somehow says "Christmas" to them. Sigh.
Dec. 11th, 2013 12:30 pm (UTC)
I'm with you. I have more than enough stuff, and I can't think of anything I really want or need. This year my friends and I are planning to go to see Cavalia and then have a nice dinner out as our Christmas treat. No presents, just good company and a nice dinner on Christmas Day. More than enough for me!
Dec. 11th, 2013 05:10 pm (UTC)
This year, my gift from my Mom will be to pay my part of Christmas dinner out at the nice place we always go. That works for me. And I am giving her a home-made gift. I like home-made gifts if I can manage them, they're more personal and feel much less commercial. But they do take time.

Other folks, they just want the experience of opening presents and seeing other people open presents and it doesn't feel like Christmas without it. And I get that that is an "experience" they want to have Christmas morning, but it's the aftermath that irks.
Dec. 12th, 2013 03:02 am (UTC)
Oh man, I need to do that. One for each member of this household. Kudos!
Dec. 12th, 2013 11:44 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm sure this project is easier when the only person I have to wrestle with to get rid of stuff is me, myself, and I.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )