Cindy Bogard’s Weekly Post
There is a group of Canadian Mennonites who, along with AdBusters, promotes a Buy Nothing Christmas www.buynothingChristmas.org. While my family will not be having a Buy Nothing Christmas, we will be having a Buy Not A Lot Christmas. Each year, I’ve tried to cut back, usually with only moderate success. One memorable year, the kids got so overwhelmed by the number of gifts that we had to take a break from opening them. Good grief! Can you say “enough already!”
This year Christmas comes very close to my half-year of decluttering anniversary. Having looked so carefully at each and every one of the more than 1,200 things I’ve decluttered, I can say for sure that I have very little interest in purchasing.
The girls, too, have been decluttering with me every step of the way. They very much acknowledge that most of the gifts they’ve received have really not been as fun, interesting, or welcomed as anticipated. The amount of books, craft kits, and art supplies that have been shifted out of their rooms and into other homes is remarkable.
In addition to Christmas gift-giving, Clara’s birthday and her first diabetes diagnosis anniversary are the week before Christmas. While I try to look on her diagnosis day as “the day her life was saved” not “the day the wheels came off the bus,” there’s no denying that it has been earthshaking and deserves some sort of special acknowledgement.
So what will we be giving and getting this year?
Audra wants a kitten and, shhhhh, Santa is going to bring her one. Her other gifts will be cat-related items. However, in the true one-item-in, one-item-out tradition, one of the guinea pigs has found a new home at the girls’ school, and I’m trying to find a home for the other one. (Yahoo! This could be a two-for-one!)
Clara desperately wants her ears pierced. She will turn 11 in December, and she’s always been told that she could not get her ears pierced until she turned 13. As I said before, her birthday and diagnosis day are close together, and I figure that since she pokes herself to test her blood sugar at least 10 times a day, she can handle two more pokes. I’ve invited her three closest friends and their mothers to meet us at the mall on the anniversary of her diabetes diagnosis, and we will all go to the earring store to watch her get her ears pierced. Then I’ll treat everyone to lunch. I think this will truly be a memory for a lifetime, just like Audra’s kitten. For Christmas, I’ll get her some earrings and let someone else get her the books and calligraphy set she’s asked for.
With my parents, we have a completely practical gift-giving strategy. Everyone is encouraged to say exactly what they’d like for Christmas, and if you describe its precise location in the store, that’s not going too far. (“Home Depot, aisle 14, bottom shelf, left hand side. It’s $34.99 on sale for the next week” is not too much detail.)
My husband’s family (four adults and one toddler) is a bit more of a wild card. I have finally realized that I can’t control them, I can only control myself. (It only took me a dozen years of trying to manage their gift giving for me to come to this fairly obvious conclusion.) All of us are blessed with plenty of income and the ability to buy everything we need and most things we want. What that means is that I will be informing them what sort of gifts we’ll be giving by sending an email that finalizes our visiting plans and states, “As in years past, the girls will be buying a gift for (the baby), and we will be making charitable donations for the adults.” (Hmm, I think that might need a little work, but you get the idea.) In return, I will ask for a donation to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (www.jdrf.org) or a gift certificate to my favorite store Amazon.com. What they do with that information has to be up to them.
Will you be having a Buy Nothing Holiday?
Item 342 of 365 less things
5 Things I am grateful for today
- Not only remembering to go to the supermarket on the way home from the airport but getting everything I went there for – I have been a bit of an airhead lately.
- Steve remembering to get the lawn mowing man his Christmas carton of beer while he was at our house today.
- An afternoon nap – I had a headache all day and needed some relief. Those new cushions came in really handy.
- A great response to today’s (yesterday’s now) post – I had a amusing time reading about the odd things people have as clutter/precious possessions.
- Lovely soft fresh bread
It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow.