Ever the Optimists

It’s catalog season at our house. The daily deluge of glossy began in early November. Some are from brands we all probably know, others from “Holiday Shoppes” you nor I ever heard of. And heaven help me, I look at them all, every book, every page. (I typed “look at the mall” in the previous sentence and had to correct it… Wonder what Freud would say?)

I don’t like to shop. Much. But I love to flip through those catalogs. The real mall has crowds, noise, traffic, and an inescapable cloud of “Holiday Spice” fragrance in its multitude of permutations which leaves me wheezing. The mall is not my friend.

The catalogs, however, are my friends. I “ooh,” and “ahh” in my jammies, over coffee, a page here and a page there whenever I have a minute. “Isn’t that cute!” I exclaim, over a frilly cut-velvet tunic, a la Stevie Nicks 1979. That cardinal garden flag? Love it. Mom always had a soft spot for cardinals. And sweet baby kittens wouldja look at those mittens! A-dooorr-a-ble! Nail decals. Clever T-shirts. Kitchen gadgets. Christmas ornaments. Plush blankies, wall hangings, dog toys, camping gear… etc. and etc.

(And before your panties get twisted about the environmental unfriendliness of it all, I have tried to opt out. Done the “Don’t send me these, please,” in every way I know how, but alas. Like squirrels to the squirrel-proof bird feeders, they still come.)

But what the catalog senders never seem to get, is that I hardly ever, really almost never, actually pull out the credit card and buy anything. I have a few times. A reversible full grain leather belt and two pairs of flannel-lined jeans from LL Bean. I will be wearing those jeans often this year. They’re warm and wonderful. A goat, for a farmer somewhere in the world without catalogs, from Heifer, International. Bless you, anonymous farmer. Go sell some cheese. And a pair of Christmas-y jar candles that don’t smell like cinnamon anything. 

I am very thankful every year around this time, that I lack whatever connective tissue links up “Isn’t that cute!” to “Have to have it!” But the catalog senders don’t know this. They hope against hope that this year, I’ll succumb to the appeal of their Talking Stuffed Chipmunk or dragonfly wind chimes. Ever the optimists, they print and ship and mail.

And every November the glossies start their migration. From mailbox, to coffee table, to night stand, and eventually, to the recycling bin with the rest of the junk mail. Next time there’s a cold snap, or a power outage, or a stay-at-home date night, we’ll light a fire. And the catalogs will be the bottom layer. Glossy pages burn in color. Pretty colors. Almost as pretty as those iridescent titanium hoop earrings on page forty-seven.


One thought on “Ever the Optimists

  1. Yay! NO catalogs come to my mailbox! No cinnamon-infused pages nor do I have to drift thru cinnamon-infused mall doorways, either!

    I work in a mall. It could be described as the smallest, still-running mall in existence. It’s shaped like three spokes of a wheel. There’s an AMC Theater, a Macy’s, and a Macy’s Furniture Gallery anchoring the spokes. My Arthur Murray Dance Center is nearest the AMC anchor, and two doors down from us is a pet adoption place. I think the only businesses that “keep mall hours” are the Macy’s. Weirdest place ever. But no cinnamon! Yay!


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