Thursday, December 10, 2009

Shopping Conscience Says: Put That Back!

Oo, Sweet n Salty has another thoughtful quality-over-quantity The Good Grinch post up. Reminds me of when I recently escaped for a couple of hours of shopping at Micheal's, that craft store with more Than You Possibly Want.

I was looking for picture frames (on sale) for my in-law's recent family portrait. I was looking for attractive yet inexpensive cookie tins. I was looking for a stocking (also on sale) for the little girl because although I'd like to make one for her, It Ain't Gonna Happen This Year.

So then I got sucked into the shopping vortex and started finding stocking stuffers for various family members.

A bouncy ball that lights up and flashes when you squeeze it, good for my step-nephew. A crocodile that "grows" when you submerge it in water over night for somebody. Colorful, flower-shaped plastic bangles for my niece. A cheap wooden pattern tray my mom could use for playing with quilting patterns. Um, a Christmassy tin for somebody, and an extra frame for another family picture, and maybe frames for baby photos for the grandparents, and...

I was feeling some pressure because I hardly get any time to get anything done these days, and I have more plans than time. If I find something that works, I need to seize upon it. And the small cookie tins are my justification for sending cookies if indeed I am able to make cookies this year.

I flew past boxes of colorful ornaments, fake grapes, big box art kits, scrap booking supplies, paint-it-yourself molded plaster ornaments. But more stuff called to me. A scrapbook. Another stocking. A book of origami projects with included paper that my sister would just love, I'm sure of it!

Luckily, I ran across a couple of shoppers debating whether to get some tchotchke or other.

Oh, that's cuuute. one of them said.

Who are you getting it for? asked the other.

I don't know yet.

Well then why are getting it?! Why get it at all?

But look how cute it is.

Who are you getting it for? more insistently.

...And they repeated almost the exact same conversation a second time.

I giggled in recognition. It was like listening to a little devil and a little angel sitting on my shoulders while I was shopping. "Do you really need that?" "But it's cute!"

I also am tempted to buy things that would be perfect for "somebody" or "sometime." Sometimes it's hard to find exactly what I want. Sometimes it's hard to decide exactly what I want! Sometimes I grab at something as gift insurance in case I can't find anything better. Sometimes I get exasperated by my gift panic that induces impulse buys. I really appreciated reading Sweet n Salty's take on that.

I probably could use a "shopping conscience."
Who are you getting that for?
Do you really need that?
Put that back!

I convened by the stockings to reassess my basket. I kept the tins, the picture frames and my favorite stocking. I put back most of the rest, including the plastic, then went on my merry way to the cashiers. Quality over quantity. Oh, I wish it so.

Less plastic, more heart. I'm making mostly pizelles for Christmas this year. If the stars and schedules align.

No comments: