The following post is a very timely and personal story from a Chapter member.
The holiday season is here and as the song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”.
We stock up on new holiday decor, new party attire and start buying gifts for those on our list. Products are marketed to us as the absolute “must” of the season or “best price ever”. Black Friday and Cyber Monday can cause anxiety and fear, if we miss the mark. All this can lead us to buying lots of extras for the wrong reasons.
I am not talking about the well-thought-out purchase of items for us or family members.
I am talking about those last-minute decisions we put in our basket to fill a void, even up the gift count or make the holidays even merrier. Those little finds we convince ourselves we or someone else needs.
I am a gift buyer. Give me a theme for a gift and I am off to the races. Unfortunately, my buying and overbuying makes me guilty of leaving traces of clutter in other people’s lives. Many years ago when my oldest daughter and I were cleaning out her room, I was surprised she was willing to donate all these turtle trinkets I had given her. She liked turtles, we had a turtle tank and therefore, I bought turtle stuff as gifts…for years! When I questioned why she wanted to give it all away, she told me “mom, I like turtles, just not turtle stuff”.
Ouch! But I was glad she felt comfortable enough to tell me the truth. I have had the same types of gifts given to me, but mine all were cat themed. For many years, our family bought stocking stuffers for one another. Inevitably each year, I received a note pad with a cat on it. I would smile and be thankful and when I got home I put it in the drawer with prior years’ note pads…all with cats on them.
Can anybody relate to this?
As Professional Organizers, many of us see the gifts our clients receive. In some cases, we help them deal with where to put the gift, how to store the gift, help them decide if the gift has out lived it’s use and help them deal with the guilt of not wanting it anymore.
Since my children are young adults, I am trying to figure out how to fulfill my desire to give to them, without over giving, filling a void, or thinking they will be happier with more. I do give gifts of need, adventure and grocery-type items that help their pocket book.
I have never believed that gifts need to be kept forever. Gifts don’t have to be purchased to let someone know you love them or are thinking of them. Gifts of time and service are most valuable. I don’t want my family to have to deal with too much stuff because I happen to over buy for them.
I write this partially as my own retail therapy. My husband and I spent this past weekend on a road trip. We stopped and did a little shopping along the way. My oldest daughter said she would like a new flannel shirt for Christmas. I ordered the black and red buffalo plaid.
While in line at Bed, Bath and Beyond, I saw a black and red buffalo plaid hot pad…and in another store, the matching coffee mug. My husband politely reminded me that she just asked for the shirt. Rats! He is so right. She has coffee mugs and hot pads. I know she would think it is cute to get her matching pieces…. but it’s not like she is going to cook in her shirt and use the matching hot pad while sipping hot cocoa.
I am happy he stopped me.
No matter how you celebrate your holidays, take a few minutes to check that list and keep unnecessary clutter off of it.
The following was written by Leigh MacReady, President of NAPO Michigan and owner of Re-Nest LLC.