It starts innocently enough.  Full of good intentions to make the holidays special and memorable.  I make a few lists.  Click thru my favorite shopping websites.  It’s only November.  I have time.  Theoretically speaking anyway…

Before it’s too late to unsubscribe, my daily email intake doubles and then triples.  I am swimming in emails that ARE SCREAMING AT ME and can’t locate the ones that actually require replies.  Breathing while browsing becomes challenging.  I wake up in a cold sweat grabbing for my phone and trying to recall if I remembered to add the cuddliest Snow White doll and latest Lego City set (And yes, before you ask.  We. Need. More. Legos.) to the correct Amazon wish list.  Maybe I should go to the store for ideas…..  Conversations with my friends tend to focus on what we’re planning to buy and if we’re done yet (NOPE!).  Did I spend too much?  Not enough?  Do the kids have plenty to open?  Do they have the same number of gifts?  Now I’m just buying for myself because these are really good deals.  I mean, I would be foolish to pass these up.  Right?  RIGHT?!?!  These little drummer boy heart palpitations can’t be good.

And it's not even December yet
And it’s not even December yet

Shopping for the holidays is as intense as the arms race during the Cold War with presents as the desired commodity.  It’s such an ugly downward spiral.  I fall victim every year despite my best efforts to ignore the hype.  Of course in January, the gift goggles come off and as I venture to my basement to unearth storage bins, I realize that most of these new “have to have” things are already collecting dust and my New Year’s resolution to be more organized is ruined.

In a year that I’ve spent getting my priorities straight and eliminating, to the extent possible,  the superfluous things in my life, I’m taking the holidays back, ignoring the emails, and driving right past the off ramp that leads to Westfarms Mall.  Please join me in bringing things down a notch.  Let’s get calm  and slowly move away from our wallets (assuming that you haven’t already memorized your credit card number) for the remainder of the year.  You are not responsible for buying your child everything he or she wants.

Exhale and remember the spirit of this season, the love shared between family and friends, giving of yourself to help others, finding happiness inside of you – none of it is for sale.

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