Amid all the published gloom and doom about retail sales this season, our first of two Holiday shows went alright. We are not much of tracking the dollars last year and comparing them to this year, but we are happy and some of our lovely things have happy new homes!
This is the show I have been grousing about the management changing things around. The show was different. They tried to do more grouping of similar artists, I think. There was a room with 2D art - photos, paintings, and then some mixed crafters. We were in a large room with bath and body care and jewelry. The gym in the basement seemed crowded and contained a lot of mixed crafts. We weren't too far away from where we have always been so folks didn't seem to have too hard of a time finding us. I think the feelings were mixed about the show, change is always hard.
There were more folks buying for themselves than for the Holidays, oddly enough. There have always been folks who guiltily buy for themselves, but folks were less likely to have a long list of Aunts and Cousins they were buying multiples for. And more likely to be falling in love with something for themselves. I wonder if it has to do with this being the Season of Splurging! Of wanting to find something that makes them happy in a time that is pretty much grim.
Every year I wonder how it is that we do this crazy thing. As I have aged, my delight in actual presents has waned. What I want are things to make my hobbies easier like an enthamolic filter with 2 inline filter housings to filter my mead. Although while I type this I realize it would be a lot cheaper to buy a couple more carboys! You see, I want the filter so I can get the mead out of the carboys and into the bottles sooner. It takes a long time for mead to settle out and clear in most cases. But this is a $400-ish sort of investment so I get to experience what it is to want. *grin* I am clearly not sure that this is the best and highest use of $400. Frankly, I think I'd rather pay down our debt a bit and have a nice dinner together instead. And then go buy a couple more carboys.
So most of my wish list is tools and horse equipment. Mostly very pragmatic and dull to buy. But on the other hand, I don't expect to get any of them as most of them are on the big ticket side and hard to buy. And I am fine with that.
What I really enjoy is figuring out what to give. It really does tickle me when someone wears and enjoys earrings that I made specifically for them. Or tells me about when they drank the bottle of mead.
This being said, I know I really treasure some of the handmade and or carefully chosen gifts I have gotten over the years from friends and family. And it's not that I want to discourage gifts, it's just a reflection that the emphasis of the Season has definitely changed for me.
I remember sitting with a present on my lap a Christmas probably 10 years ago and I was wildly excited about opening it. When suddenly, my perspective went akilter. Somehow that voice in my head was saying to me - what could possibly be in this box to make you this excited and happy? What "thing" could mean so much? It sort of put my life in perspective about what I do and who I am with being more important that any thing.
I remember being out of my mind with joy and excitement on Christmas morning as a kid. But I know that I have been way more excited and happy about giving a special gift to someone special.
I have yet to be excited about giving a gift card.
Now again, this being said, one of the truths about being self-employed is there are feasts and famines. And I have truly enjoyed having a stash of gift cards in my wallet for those lean times. I can go shopping and not spend any money which makes the experience all the sweeter.
Obviously, it's complex.
I sometime wonder if it's because we all have so much. These times are full of such conflicting messages. Consume more! Consume less!
I know more people who are trying to reduce the complexity of their lives and have a lot less things around them. We sorted out a lot of things when we renovated the house last year. Me, being sentimental and a pack rat, had a harder time of it than my husband. But I have enjoyed having less in the kitchen. I can now reach for the one cup measuring cup that is hung on the peg board rather than having to dig through a pile of ones that I didn't really like to find the one I wanted. I kept some of the occasionally used but really needed when I need them items, like the clay cooker, but put them downstairs on a shelf.
Having less makes me able to enjoy what I have more. I am a person who loves her things. It's a tug of war that is once again being played out.