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‘Tis the Season

Well, ’tisn’t, which is part of the problem .  When I look at the calendar, it is quite clear that it is still November (early November at that) and December, with its multitude of celebrations — Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa — is not yet even on the horizon, but when I look at my mailbox, it’s a whole different story.

Am I the only consumer being gradually inundated by the tide of catalogs?

They are arriving in heaps and piles and bundles.  It started out back in September, gained strength in October, and now we are within actual sight of the Great Month the catalogs are piling in, 15 or so a day.  Of course I have to admit I encourage them in a way — I do order from catalogs.  This unfortunately guarantees not only that I will receive catalogs from Lands End, for example, but that I will be lucky enough now and for the indefinite future to receive every other catalog that considers itself  to be in the same general category.

Ah, and the catalogs.  They are full of the most entrancing and delightful objects.  And clothes — every item of which is to guarantee the wearer will be slim, elegant, and perfectly dressed for every occasion.  Just look at the models!  So you order them, and it turns out your same old shape has to fit into them.   There are catalogs full of sparkling jewelry, many of which will turn out to be small and ordinary when you unwrap them.  And the splendid gift gadgets, guaranteed to solve every problem you ever had and some you hadn’t thought of yet.  You order, thinking this is just the right thing for your sister, or Great Aunt Louisa, and what arrives looks, to put it crudely, tacky and doesn’t work.

Of course there are the items you order and are glad you did.  Lands End cotton turtlenecks, for one.  Intriguing toys from Discovery.  Wonderful ethnic jewelry from the National Geographic.  But unfortunately, you inevitably discover you have become the Sorcerer’s Apprentice all over again, as the catalogs spill out of the mailbox and down the stairs.

So Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah and Joyful Kwanzaa (or whatever you say — I’m a little shaky on that one). I know now that about the middle of December one day the mail will come without a single catalog, just as if somebody turned off the Great Tap in the sky.  And I do promise that I’ll collect the piles in the house, tie them neatly, and send them off to recycling.

But know, even as I’m doing that, that somewhere in the corridors of power, someone is putting together lists, and, because these people are generous by nature, sharing the lists, and my name and address are slithering around, being added to other lists, and sometime next September the flood gates will be opened again.

Any of you take part in this quaint annual ritual? They can’t be printing all those catalogs just for me  . ..


7 Responses

  1. I’m with you! Time goes by fast enough as it is and this stuff just makes it pick up speed because I can’t wait to see the expression on the person’s face when they open my gift. Gets me into trouble too! I forget what I’ve bought and for who or end up hiding it so good so they won’t stumble across it, that I can’t find it either. LOL All I can say is, please don’t put me on another list. I can’t handle another catalog! Is there a support group for this? 🙂

  2. Ah yes, Melissa. I am famous among my children for the week-after-Christmas and month-after-Christmas presents when I discover something I was sure I had, but inexplicably vanished into thin air (or disappears under many bags and boxes) Christmas Eve.

    But turning off the spigot of catalogs? What are you trying to do? Dam up the tide of world trade?

    Can’t be done.

  3. The joy of squatting on my parents’ ranch– I don’t exist on mailing lists any more. That stuff all piles up at mother’s house instead. And Melissa, I can so relate. Nothing like cleaning out that top shelf in the closet in february and finding that perfect present you bought for your sister in September then promptly forgot about.

  4. Oh, Kari Lynn, I’m so pleased that you too do the same stupid thing! And I had no excuse when the children were all home and we lived in the big house. (We’re downsized now!) Down in the basement I had the Christmas closet, which is where I put all the presents. All the kids knew this, but I told them that if they wanted to peek, of course they could, but it would ruin the surprise of Christmas. (I knew this from personal experience: my mother had the same system and one year I did peek, and she was right. It spoiled Christmas to know what was coming.)

    But always, ALWAYS something got buried in the depths of the closet and not discovered in time. Although I think only twice out of the 20 years we lived n that house did something get so thoroughly lost that I didn’t find it until Christmas the NEXT year.

  5. ok. I don’t mind the mailing lists too much. Son is of the age to realize those are TOYS on those pages. He’s entertained for an hour, I tell you.


  6. Well, there is that. They’ve been called “wish books” for good reason. The problem with my 2-1/2 year old grandson is that he has brothers and a sister not that much older than he is, and being a smart little devil, he has figured out how to point firmly at desirable pictures and follow my daughter around repeating the way 2 year olds can repeat, “Want that one, Mom. Want that one, Mom. Want that one, Mom.”

    Thank goodness my daughter is blessed with (almost) inexhaustible patience. Had he had the misfortune to be my son, he would have been shouted at a couple of times — like when I’m trying to reach something in the dark depths of a cupboard, and there, by my legs, is the repetitive call of the boy who has just been enlightened by siblings about Christmas: “Want that one, Mom. Want that one . . . “

  7. Man Where has this year gone? I can’t believe it’s already November either.

    Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I can’t wait for it this year because our granddaughter will be so much fun (she’s almost 2). We’ve already gotten most of her Christmas.

    My mom on the other hand is a Christmas Fruitcake (and I say this in the most loving way). She has a christmas tree in every room and she ends up leaving her christmas tree up year round because there is so much stuff on it it would take a year to undecorate it. We always do Thanksgiving at her house so she has to have all of her christmas up before then so it’s decorated. Everything starts coming down Christmas day though.

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