Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Agony

I’m beginning to dread Christmas.

Or at least the part of Christmas that means we have to buy stuff and bring it into our already bursting-at-the-seams home.

Have to? Well, of course not.

We don’t buy a lot. And we are managing to get some stuff out of the house as other stuff comes in. This year, for example, we scored a victory in finally convincing the kids that they didn’t need to cling to their Duplos any more. They can thus be passed on to their younger niece and nephew.

Also this weekend, we went through a bin of little toy bits and pieces, kept the good stuff and chucked the rest. Don’t stress: What got chucked is much too pathetic to give to those less fortunate than us. Just like us, our kids cling to a lot of junk.

Still, the thought of more stuff coming in is disturbing. More stuff needs to leave. I’ve got a box of clothing I haven’t touched in years. It’s going to Deseret Industries this week. So I can use the box to store some books for which we no longer have room on the bookshelves because of all the new books I keep bringing home from the DI. But I think if I do a little moving around I can get my Asterix comic books off the floor beneath my desk in the study into the spot in the upstairs closet where the box of clothing is. That does put the kids at a disadvantage of getting at them, but then it does save them from being damaged when the kids get at them. They can still read them. They’ll just have to ask.

Yes, we know Christmas isn’t about get-get-get, no matter what Lucy says. It’s about this:

(I know. Not in the public domain. But used here for fair use education and commentary purposes.)

That’s why, this weekend, as we took our kids to do their Christmas shopping, we emphasized that we give gifts not because people need more stuff, but because we want to help each other enjoy each other, and if we can do that by occasionally dropping some coin on them, that’s fine. Not extravagance. Just thoughtfulness. That’s how we explained the Duplos’ departure from the house, and how we’ll explain the departure of other items over the next few years. We’re in a family where things get passed down a lot. We’ve already send on little toddler ride ‘em toys that were passed on to us, bicycles and tricycles that were passed on to us, and other such items.

Still, as much fun as it is to see our kids enjoy giving and getting at Christmas, I’ve entered that stage of adulthood where I’m happier to see the stuff go than to see it coming in.

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