I like stuff. I really, really like stuff. I know it’s materialistic and shallow. I know it feeds the capitalist regime. I know that buying objects won’t fill a void in the way that, say, meditation, or charity work, or reading a good book should, but fuck it, I like stuff, and I like buying that stuff. My best friend and I used to genuinely lament that shopping was seen as too vacuous to list as a hobby in our Record of Achievements.
I’ve never bought into the idea that giving presents was better than receiving them. Sure, it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling to see somebody’s face light up when they open the perfect gift. But you know what else gives a warm fuzzy feeling? Somebody giving you that perfect shade of nail varnish you didn’t know you needed. And that feeling happens every single time you use it.
Then I had the little man. And, like everything else, my core belief on selfish buying has slowly but surely faded. I prefer buying him clothes to buying my own shiny things. If I’m being honest, some of that is because I don’t feel as shiny. Buying a size 8 shift dress that shows off my legs is not comparable to buying a wrap dress that hides the mum-tum. But on Christmas Day, one of my best friends bought the boy a Thomas the Tank a Engine pillow toy. This thing is gorgeous: soft, fluffy, big-eyed and lovely. I saw it before the boy did (waiting for him to unwrap his own gifts make me want to gnaw off my hand) and I almost had an actual fit. I was close to actual tears. At a fluffy, TTTE (see, I’m so down with the pre-schoolers they I know the acronyms) toy that doubles as a pillow. The boy does love it. But he didn’t cry at the thought of how much he was going to love it.
I haven’t even looked at the post-Christmas sales this year for me. I’m watching a bread-maker. I’ve bought TTTE wellies and an all-in-one puddle suit (bloody Peppa and her muddy puddles). I clicked on a link in an email from Topshop and immediately felt like a frumpy, disapproving grandmother.
What the hell has happened to me?!