Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Presents

A box that I wasn't expecting arrived from Amazon yesterday. I got very excited, thinking maybe our first registry item had arrived and I used every ounce of willpower to not look at our Amazon registry to see if anything had been purchased before I ripped into the box. As I pulled out a Kitchen Aid Mixer catalogue, I then proceeded to have a jaw-dropping freakout moment. Despite the fact that we didn't register for a Kitchen Aid Mixer, I've been secretly lusting after one but only because a) they're very pretty and b) I have a fantasy in which high end kitchen toys magically turn me into a baked goods goddess (in this fantasy, flour all over the kitchen is sexy instead of being a big old mess).  Logically, I know the mixer stand doesn't make sense for our limited countertop space and cooking time right now. But logic didn't matter once my brain flashed to baked goods, mashed potatoes, and sexy flour fights.

Sadly, the box did not contain a Kitchen Aid Mixer. Instead, it contained half of a Christmas present I had bought for someone else that had shipped from a kitchen store that also sells Kitchen Aid Mixers. But my ridiculous disappointment for something I don't even need or truly want showed me that Christmas, Amazon, and my wedding are all conspiring to uncover my latent greed for things ranging from fancy knives to melon ballers to countertop mixers. I've begun second guessing our decision to keep our perfectly serviceable and matching plates because new white plates would be so pretty. It's almost made me forget that all I really and truly need is this:


Love captured while we weren't posing for the camera. A moment of finding comfort and strength in each others' hug. That's it. I know it sounds sappy and cliche after talking about greed and cookies and sexy time baking escapades (which is all a bit cliche too) but this week, it's just very much true.

Right after receiving the Amazon box, I also received tragic news from one of my oldest friends in the world, and the pile of gift items and registry hopes suddenly became painfully meaningless. I still very much appreciate the intent and love behind the gifts, of course. But it hit me that I can relax about plates and presents and stuff because all I really want is time with my loved ones, both over the holidays and at our wedding. It's been so easy to lose sight of that with all the registry and holiday excitement, despite knowing, really knowing, what matters to me about Christmas morning and the wedding weekend. And so today, I'm reminding myself to pull back from all the gift giving to focus on the reasons I'm working so hard to find meaningful gifts: because the people in my world matter deeply to me and I love them. And I feel so lucky that I get to spend Christmas with some of them and the wedding with so many of them.

6 comments:

  1. Very true words........ And that photo is such a sweet moment.

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  2. This is beautiful, and so true. I opened up the Crate and Barrel website the other day, looking at pretty white dishes and mentioned, "If we were going to register, I would want..."

    It's good to be reminded what this is really about, what's important and what's not.

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  3. OMG, I know *exactly* what you mean. I've been very conflicted about the whole registry thing because it feels so consumerist. On the other hand, my pragmatic side says that people want to buy us presents, we actually do need some practical goods, and if we don't register, we'll get seven crystal vases.

    So I think we will register. But I'm trying to keep my head straight, and make sure what we do register for is stuff we need, as opposed to things I just generally covet.

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  4. We did not get that mixer off our registry as a wedding gift. But my mom bought it for us later that year for Christmas! We have the counter space (now) and it makes me peanut butter and bacon cookies so I'm happy. And I LOVE our white dishes.

    But like you, there are things that give me pause. I don't have a a tragedy that puts me into perspective (thankful for that and so sad to hear of yours, I hope everyone is OK), but a historical fiction book I'm currently reading about the Nazi occupation of Poland. A line in the book, "We were so wasteful then, there was too much." spoken by a Jew prior to the invasion.
    It made me think all day every time I went to throw away mushy grapes or an envelope I messed up - how if we had nothing what would be important. It certainly wouldn't be my Kitchen Aid mixer.

    Great post and great reminder. Thanks!

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  5. @ruchi - we have a few registries, but they're all pretty small and limited to things we need or important upgrades that will last us a lifetime (We'd really like nice, matching stainless flatware that's appropriate for casual or formal entertaining. We're tired of our mismatches there.) I think that was our compromise. We looked at our life now and forward over the next 10 years and asked what we needed, what fit into our life (versus seemed aspirational), and fit into our physical home.

    @Thirty Something Bride - I think certain moments or books can give us good perspective on what's important, but they don't take away from the joys of things that give us an everyday life either. For example, I actually love your white dishes too! But we bought a matching non-white set when we moved in together, so oh well. But I admit I'm getting all sorts of excited about the prospect of matching flatware and nice napkins and napkin rings to dress up our table. It's not necessary at all, and remembering that helps me appreciate it more.

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