You are probably familiar with the phrase “Go big or go home.”
Well, this Christmas I want to get little – and still enjoy being home.
In fact, enjoy it a lot more with less “stuff” lying around in closets, cupboards and crates. Or stuff that I need to sweep or dust. To avoid. Or, given my lack of coordination, stumble.
I don’t need another necklace. I have lots of sentimental ones that I rarely wear.
Please, not another sweater or hoodie. I could wear a different one every day for several weeks without duplication.
Slippers – I have enough to keep my toes warm all winter long.
Books – Our shelves are already overflowing. I prefer to stop at local libraries to satisfy my reading habits.
I made it clear to anyone who even suggested buying me a Christmas present to cease and desist.
I’ve spent the last week purging the things I’ve “saved” – and certainly don’t need – since I stuffed them in the basement up to 25 years ago.
My list of results included:
n Winter coats
The ones we all passed or were beyond repair despite my good intentions to “fix” them – which I never had time to do. None of them are in a condition to give.
I could keep half the population of Richmond warm this winter with what is piling up there. I’ve kept flannel blankets that the kids and I knotted, as well as the one I crocheted myself a lifetime ago.
We had a tisket, a tasket, too many baskets (all sizes, shapes and colors) taking up space at the bottom. But I couldn’t throw out the ones our oldest daughter, Ruby, and I had made together in EKU continuing education classes.
Mainly gifts from our daughters, whose feet have grown and grown and grown, while mine have stayed the same size 5/6 forever. I’m not sure where I’ll be wearing the red and white checkered Vans or the black and white high top shoes, but that day might come.
The ones we have collected by the sea and put in decorative containers. Then forgot.
Most will probably never come back in style and haven’t aged well in the bag they’re crammed into. I kept the memorabilia that I bought on my travels from China to Guatemala.
There was enough to line a convention center. Winston Churchill. Morihei Ueshiba. Flying saucers. Periodic table. A whole collection over the years.
And so on. Difficult decisions. Guided by “less is more”.
So what do I want for Christmas? Apart from world peace?
The kind that I can cash in on housework. That someone else is doing for me. It is much more practical and economical.
In elementary school, our kids made coupon books for me. I could trade them in for hugs. Freshly baked cookies. Do the dishes after dinner. Feed the cats. And, my all time favorite – a hassle free day.
Now I need volunteers for heavier tasks. Like cleaning gutters. I’m definitely not climbing a ladder. Or walk on the roof to sweep those pesky leaves.
Not now. Never.
We lost two trees due to the last ice storm. The only advantage was to think that my continuing battle against raking their leaves in the fall would end. But unfortunately. This is not the case.
Our neighbor’s oak leaves have already blown our way several times, covering our front yard. I raked them all the way to the curb, a tedious and unsatisfying task that I would gladly delegate to someone else.
When the kids were young I insisted that we use an old fashioned mower. The kind of motorless push so the kids could play in the backyard while I mowed, without worrying about something sharp and deadly coming out at lightning speed.
We switched to an electric mower, which requires more force than I have to maneuver, especially on all of our maple roots that grow above the ground.
n Window cleaning
Another physically unsatisfying chore. We have a lot of windows. Which I love to watch.
But, they get dusty, grimy, and wispy over time. Obfuscate my sight. I’ve read all the household tips posted on the internet, but still haven’t found a product that protects against smudges and smudges after all of my diligent cleaning efforts.
n Always up for grabs
Shampoo carpets. Dusting of ceiling fans. Painting grimy walls. The list of coupons is unlimited.
Fortunately, I have already received free work between adults and children, without coupons.
Marlowe and Ingrid helped clean the basement, emphatically suggesting what should be fine. And what must remain. Since many of the “treasures” stored downstairs were kept to be passed on to them and their two siblings, if they didn’t want these items, there was no point in keeping them any longer.
We still have other rooms to clean.
I think I’ll wait until I can cash coupons to cover these projects.