Losing Control: Christmastime and Buying More Stuff

I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas.

On the one hand, I love winter. I love the snow, and I love the warmth inside. Our relatively modest decorations add a little change and cheer to the house, and I enjoy the scents we employ throughout the house in honor of the holiday season. On the other hand, though, I hate, hate, hate the materialism that seems to crop up. And the never-ending list of things that “need” to be bought.

It seems as though no matter what I try to teach my son, during this time of year it all flies out the window and he’s all about the stuff. It doesn’t help that his father is a things person. So, while my husband has an endless list of things that he wouldn’t mind having, I grit my teeth and try to make him understand that I really don’t want much. Maybe one or two high quality, nice items that I think would add to the beauty of our home. Or products (skin care, gourmet food, etc.) that I can use, and that won’t turn into clutter.

Quality vs. Quantity

For me, though, it’s really a quality vs. quantity issue. I enjoy looking for gifts for others. But I like the idea of searching for something meaningful to the person. Or I like the idea of giving a gift card so that the person can get what he or she wants. To me, the joy of gift giving is in finding that one thing that I know the recipient will enjoy. It’s about quality.

Quantity is much harder for me. Even though my husband and I agreed that we would just get the LEGO Death Star set for our son for Christmas, since it was a single item that he has wanted for a while (not to mention a bit pricey), there is a growing pile of stuff upstairs. Even after we choose toys to take to the charity thrift store for Christmas, the fact remains that I’m not sure any child needs to open that many presents at Christmas. My husband thinks it’s fun for people to open as many presents as possible, so things tend to get out of control, and the clutter piles up.

I’d rather have one high quality item than three mediocre items. But for some, it’s more about opening more gifts, and counting the number of things received. And that is where some of my frustration exhibits itself during this time of year. We’ve been making solid progress as a family to at least prioritize our purchases, and reduce the clutter around the house, and all of it is essentially undone as the Christmas season rolls around.

Even though my husband likes things, he decided — at least before the Black Friday deals started on Amazon — that we need to have a place and a purpose for everything we have. I purged a great deal, and he slowed his acquisition of things. It was a compromise that was working, but now it’s all out the window, and I’m kind of upset. Which, of course, brings it’s own problems, since that sort of anger throws off other parts of my life.

So I’m trying to get through the season, and trying to figure out how to make it less materialistic. Do you have any thoughts to help me in my efforts?

About the Author

Miranda is a freelance writer and professional blogger. See more of her writing at MirandaMarquit.com. Her book, Confessions of a Professional Blogger is available from Amazon.