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Archive for the ‘materialism’ Category

[written on 12/22]

Last night was our Solstice celebration. It went very well.

We had a nice dinner together, with holiday music in the background, then we pulled last minute things together and sat around the tree (i.e., Solstice Shrub).

While we were waiting for Beloved to finish up so we could open presents, E remarked on the relatively small number of presents under the tree. She was not complaining. She said she remembered how, when she was younger, it was so exciting to see the huge mound of presents under the tree. But that by the end of the morning, it was all very overwhelming. She said that she liked how it felt more relaxing to have less.

Then she spoke for me, and said that it was partly because she and her sister never bothered to think of each OTHER in regard to the holiday, and so there were at least 2 less gifts under the tree.

[grumble grumble says the mom, noticing that they each thought of TWO secret santa gifts for their friends at school, but had to have teeth pulled from their heads before they could think of something for their parents, and never thought of anything for each other. grumble grumble.]

It doesn’t matter that the mound of gifts was small, though – this was by far the most I’ve ever spent at the holiday season.

What does this mean our materialism and the holiday? I’m not sure.

I decided way back when they first came out with the video Nanos that I wanted to get them for the girls. I liked the size of them – I love the practicality of iPods (how much easier is this? Than having giant albums or shelves full of CDs?). I didn’t think that they cost too much for the benefits they gave.

Yet, they’re expensive, and as gifts go – they’re a biggy.

But in the interest of having a less materialistic holiday, should I buy them for the kids as soon as I think of it? Should they think it’s just normal to come home from school and casually be handed the latest tech toy?

In other words – every thing we got for the holiday was something we were going to get. We waited, or hurried, for the holiday, because it gave us a reason to buy these things for each other (and in some ways, with Beloved and I, for ourselves). It justified the financial outlay. But then our holiday, which is an attempt to move away from the commercialism of Christmas, did end up quite gift-centric, and we all were quite spoiled.

We did not get “filler” gifts. We did not aim to make the pile under the tree bigger. I started my annual guilty twinges yesterday (there’s not enough! we need more!), and Beloved stopped me. The point is not to make a giant pile of gifts. But I was worried that Beloved had so few things. But as you will see … one of his things cost more (but just barely) than everything else under the tree combined.

The run down:

The girls loved their nanos, and their books from Beloved: E got the Complete Far Side Collection, and J the Complete Calvin & Hobbes. Both set are very well done and beautiful inside and out. We also got them a docking station for their iPods. When we were done opening gifts, and even in the middle of the gift opening – and again this morning – the books were devoured. They poured over their own and each others, and were very impressed with them.

J spent a lot of time with her Nano last night, but E was content to wait until today (and the books and sledding have still taken priority).

I got Beloved a MacBook Pro.

It’s actually something that he’s needed/wanted for years, and we haven’t been able to afford it. With me in school, extra tech funds often got poured into being certain I had what I needed, and he just got my hand-me-downs and leftovers.

Finally, he gets to have the newest computer in the house, and – quite frankly – the fanciest!

He more than deserves it.

And the girls got him Photoshop for Mac.

I got an iPod touch (woo hoo! It’s so gorgeous!) and a watch. Beloved and I actually went shopping together for the watch. I think it’s this one (the smaller), except that face looks white, and mine is a pearly-silver.

I am in love with my watch. I haven’t had one since my old one broke on the day of the bar exam (isn’t that scary? Is there a day in the life of a law student/post grad that you need a watch more than THAT DAY? And mine broke? But it didn’t break until 7 p.m. Isn’t that also a little scary?).

I also got a great big thirsty wonderful bathrobe in forest green. It almost makes me want to take a shower.

Almost.

I still don’t feel good after all.

So we were all spoiled, and we were all very appreciative.

And while I think that this year was this way for many reasons (first time we have funds to make these kinds of purchases; short on time and planning; sheer laziness), I hope that next year we can return to a bit more of the home-made flavor of our Solstices in the past.

I think I missed it.

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