Diamonds = true love. Therefore, lack of diamonds means…?
Owning a home = success. So renting means…?
Top-end equipment = mastery of craft. So crappy stuff means…?
We’ve probably all struggled against these Western constructs at some point. Maybe we’ve found comfortable alignment, maybe we’ve rejected the whole shebang; probably somewhere in between. But nothing raises my love-hate complex with materialism more than Christmas.
I had it all down this year. For my Mate and Sons One and Two: a special book, or an article of clothing I’ve heard them wish for. Everyone else: homemade granola.
Christmas list? Checked off. Christmas shopping? Done. Y’all can fight over my parking space at the mall.
The Mate and I have talked; he feels the same. I wasn’t expecting any gifts less modest than what I’m giving him.
And then my electric mixer broke.
You have to understand something about mixers. There are KitchenAids, which START at $250, and then there are the cheap, hand-held kind–$25. I got a cheapie as a wedding present 29 years ago. It worked fine, but I always told myself, “When this one breaks, I’ll get a KitchenAid. I’m a great baker. I should have great gear.” It lasted 16 years, but when that cheap mixer broke (in the middle of a cake), I zipped out and got a new one…for $25.
“It’s good enough,” I told myself. “Why spend ten times that much? And I’m in a hurry. A KitchenAid…that’s a commitment. I’m not ready.”
“Y’know, REAL bakers have a KitchenAid.”
“I’m a real baker! I’m a big girl! Just look at all the incredible pies and cakes I’ve made over the years with my cheap-ass hand-held.”
“Right. So don’t you deserve the good stuff now?”
“I’m not buying into your materialistic orthodoxy! Good enough is good enough!”
“Oookay…But you could have a blue one. Or purple. Just sayin.”
Fast-forward nine years. It’s Christmas season, and Cheap Mixer #2 breaks–again. In the middle of a cake. I’ve just congratulated myself on successfully fighting off the Demons of Buy-Buy-Buy. But I have a choice to make.
This time, I caved. Or triumphed. Whichever way you choose to look at it. But from the pride with which I’m now displaying these photos, I guess you know which way I’m looking.
Lesson? I’m going to try and be less judgy about materialism. If something new and expensive makes me or someone else feel fulfilled…I’m going to consider why. That might be enough.