Saturday, December 15, 2012

It's an ephemeral, circle of life type thing

You know you want one.

Guys. Look. Look at this little penguin ornament. I know. Those are earmuffs. It is just the cutest. Julia, one of our lovely Card and Gift saleswomen, introduced us the other day and within ninety seconds I had him stowed away in the back room atop my small but growing pile of holiday gifts for the family.

Here's the deal: my Mom is the worst person to shop for. She hates STUFF. I'm pretty sure she's missed me since I went off to be a grown-up, but most of the stories I get from home involve the gleeful expulsion of my accumulated detritus from the house. My old bedroom is now her sewing room. She's selling my car. It's an ongoing purge. What do you buy someone whose ultimate catharsis is hauling impractical space-wasters to the curb?

"Do not buy her anything," you might say. "Rise above the frenzy of Holiday consumerism. Eschew gifts. Self-actualize. Maybe sleep on a pallet on the floor of a cloister on a mountain somewhere." And oh man, if that sounds like something you'd say, you and my mom would get on like gangbusters.

The person that lives here is so much more zen than me.

Me, I'm a hoarder. I think all that STUFF that falls into our orbits as we move through life takes on a certain resonance. It's comforting, sometimes, but it's also the raw material by which we gauge the space we've carved out in the world. 

My mom and I seem like polar opposites, but we meet in the middle; we exchange Christmas ornaments. They're frivolous and impractical, sure, but once a year we haul a tree into the living room and mount a two-week monument of tchotchkes to the milestones of our lives. You know what? It's kind of magical. Then, just at the moment when the branches start to sag, over-burdened with sentimentality, the cats bring the whole shebang crashing to the ground and suddenly there's room on next year's tree for next year's ornaments. It's an elegant cycle.

(Hey Mom: please pretend to be surprised when you open your gift on Christmas).

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