Here’s a first world problem for you: do you find yourself torn between getting caught up in the ‘holiday spirit’ while feeling a bit icky about all the excess consumption? Of course you do; it’s inevitable this time of year. On one hand we want to honour this special occasion by decorating, baking & cooking, and giving gifts. On the other hand, this all takes so much time, energy, and money, and puts a strain on the earth’s resources as well as pressure on manufacturing economies to maximize profits on the backs of workers.
Case in point, and my current dilemma: I’m hosting the whole family at my home for the holidays, and I’d like to make it “Christmas-y” for them, even thought it’s not something I usually spend too much time doing when it’s just my husband and I. I’m dithering over buying a tree for the first time ever (I usually just decorate a tiny potted evergreen I have in the house year-round), and I find myself considering buying decorations ranging from new holiday-themed cloth napkins to a seasonal door mat and seasonal throw pillows in the living room. Then I stop and think, ‘CRAZY!’. Money, resources, time, all put into a few tchotchkes that will only be used once a year. And I’ll have to find storage in my house for them the other 11 months! And yet, there’s the feeling of being the Grinch — why not just enjoy all the trappings of the season?
I was invited to a new year’s party last year at the home of a friend-of-a-family member, people I’d never met before and am unlikely to see again. They had a beautiful home, and every inch of it had been converted to Christmas decor. They had the biggest Christmas tree I’d ever seen. All the towels in the bathrooms and kitchen were Christmas towels. The handsoap was a special holiday scent. Frames containing family photos throughout the house were all Christmas-themed. Artwork on the walls were Christmas prints. Kleenex boxes were covered in Christmas images. Napkins, throws, pillows, candlesticks, you name it, all were part of the Christmas theme. It honestly made me feel a bit nauseous, despite trying not to judge what obviously was a source of pleasure, even a hobby, for the home owners. (Where do they put all this stuff the rest of the year, I kept wondering. You’d need a whole separate room for storage. And do they do this for other holidays throughout the year, too?)
What do you think? Do you go all out for the sheer pleasure of enjoying the holidays, or do you have smaller ways to enjoy the season without overdoing it? How do you balance the conflicting feelings — if you feel conflicted at all? I’m interested to know. In any case, I hope you are enjoying a happy and healthy holiday season, no matter how you do it. And may all your pants seams remain intact during holiday feasts. xo
Addendum, two days later: I caved, a bit. Went to local dollar store and hardware store and bought two strings of icicle lights, three Christmas stockings, gift bags and cookie tins. All made in China. But I somehow managed to resist the 10-foot, inflatable, light-up Santa-playing-hockey so give me some friggin’ credit, K? 😉