Well, it’s upon us.
The holidays, I mean. Maybe it’s because my family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, or maybe because Thanksgiving is the big to-do for my clan and so December has an ambience of emotional ebb, or maybe it’s just because the whole ritual has always seemed a bit much to me, but I always approach the gift-giving season with a touch of dread ringing around in my head, like a yuletide carol. For the sake of my friends, who expect to exchange presents, I force myself out to stores, on the lookout for products that can somehow, materially, bespeak my love; no matter how well I do, I always feel I’ve come up short. And then my bank balance, besides.
But this year, I don’t think I’m alone in feeling grim about gifts. There’s the sudden onslaught of news reports about green giving, for one thing, all of them dancing around their own guilty premise: Secret Santa parties, holiday gift wrap, presents piled high under the tree, none of this is even remotely green, nor can be. Then there are the stories about the credit crunch, the American shopping spree suspended as homes are foreclosed upon and stocks topple in on themselves. The article that really caught my eye, however, was a recent piece about the decline of repair shops; apparently, no one thinks much about fixing stuff anymore. Why pay someone to tinker with your twitchy DVD player when a new one will only set you back a cool $50? (Or less, if you’re willing to skimp on bells and whistles.)
All of which got me thinking. I’ve got my own wish list for this Christmas, and it boils down to this: I’d like to fix up the stuff I already own. The A.P.C. snorkel parka I’ve worn day-in, day-out for three winters; there’s a button missing, it needs some patching and a good dry clean, but I love it, and I want it back for another season. Totally fixable. My iPod: The battery died over Thanksgiving, and I teased myself in the Apple store, debating whether to get one of the new video Nanos, but no, what I really want is the iPod I have, the classic one that’s served me so well. While I’m at it, the keyboard on my laptop needs replacing, and the wiring is shot in the vintage lamp I got a few years back, and my favorite handbag requires a new lining. I possess a half-dozen shoes I’m unwilling to part with and unable to wear; maybe this Christmas, one of my friends will donate a date with the Russian shoe repair guy down the block. Perhaps the holiday season has gotten to me after all: I’m feeling rather thankful for everything I have.
In the spirit of fixing and repairing instead of just trashing what once was dearly loved, Nikkishell will start a new section in the blog that is covering that theme. Learn how to alter and repair your favorite clothes that otherwise would have landed in the goodwill pile.