I woke up this morning in the middle of a dream in which it was Christmas Eve and I had forgotten to buy any Christmas presents. In the dream, I was in a sheer panic. How could I buy everything for everybody in just one day? Would my credit card company notice a significant increase in spending and cut me off? Stuff! I needed to get the stuff!
Not coincidentally, today is the day we get our new shed. (It's a Carefree Small Building, actually. Unlike me, it has not a care in the world.) Why, exactly, do we need a shed? Because we need more places to put our stuff, of course!
Perhaps my subconscious is poking me in the arm, forcing me to pay attention to all of this "stuff" stuff and make a connection here. I know we have plenty of stuff (me: jeans that don't fit quite right; The Boys: Legos; The Husband: Well, he works too hard for me to deny him any stuff, although I'm not sure why he needs five hammers.)
Christmas brings out the best and the worst in people. It's the time of year that many people give to charities but it's also the time when we lose sight of living simply and within our means. Each year I have a list of stuff I've bought for each kid. If one kid's list is shorter than his brothers' lists, I make it right. I buy more stuff.
I'm not convinced that this is something unique to my generation. Ralphie in "A Christmas Story" was thoroughly obsessed with getting the right stuff for Christmas, despite the fact that he'd likely shoot his eye out.
Sometime this morning, a flatbed truck will attempt to make its way up our driveway to deliver a shed large enough for a family of four to live in. We'll put our stuff in it, which will make room for more stuff.
But maybe we don't need an official Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle, another hammer and another pair of poorly-fitting jeans this Christmas.
Maybe this recession will be the impetus for all of us to chill out with the overbuying. Maybe this is the year, this is the time. Maybe we can work on being a little more carefree, like our small building.