Monday, November 27, 2000

Stuff happens

Christmas, as any television commercial will tell you, is just around the corner, and what frazzles me most about the oncoming holiday is not the rampant commercialization or the cards to be sent or the gifts to be shopped for or the in-laws coming over for Christmas dinner or even the kids off school for a whole looooong week. No, it’s the thought of all that stuff descending avalanche-like on our already stuff stuffed home.

Don’t get me wrong--I like presents as much as the next person. I love getting new stuff. And I’ll certainly need some new stuff for the kids to keep them occupied through their endless school-less holiday. It’s just that we’ve got more stuff than we know what to do with just now, and how on earth will we handle more? Where will it go? We’ve tried keeping the tree up through, say, March or so to avoid putting presents away, but eventually the day must come. And with every closet, corner, and cubby currently covered with stuff, stuffing in still more can be the stuff of nightmares.

The logical thing to do, of course, would be to clear out a bunch of the old stuff to make way for the brand shiny new stuff. In the case of our house, this would require a steam shovel, but never mind. Frankly, if I had time to sort through all the stuff and separate the stuff we need from the stuff we might one day use from the stuff we’ve outgrown and the stuff we’ve lost interest in, we probably wouldn’t have so much stuff piled up now. That sort of thing takes patience I haven’t got--certainly not in December, when there’s stuff to be bought and stuff to be wrapped and stuff to be mailed. It’s ever so much easier to just let the stuff pile up and think about it tomorrow, which as we all know is always a day away.

Besides, you never know when you might need some of that stuff, all evidence to the contrary. My husband chides me for holding on to every paper the kids bring home from school, but I have actually needed to refer back to those classroom papers from time to time...well, okay, just once, but it was nice to have it there. Even the most neglected toys get played with now and again, if only because my son sticks them in his bags and pretends they’re items for recycling.

And so somehow, some way, somewhere, we’ll have to find a way to wedge all the new stuff in. All I want for Christmas extra room? five more closets? a storage shed out back?

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