This is the season of joy, so Marie Kondo’s philosophy of decluttering speaks to me in perverse ways. (Read about her in a recent New Yorker piece.) I aspire to decluttering, and my husband regularly exhorts me to minimize. His patience is especially tried in this, the most decorative of seasons. I’ve written before about the traditions passed down, of Santas and elves lurking in every corner. (Thanks, Mom.)
The thing is, if you espouse the KonMari theory, you should retain those items that “spark joy.” Ah, therein lies the rub. I get joy from that silly reindeer made of a palm frond, and the serving dish shaped like a sleigh. The biggest issue comes from decorating the tree, when the memories of Denver hikes and Key West evenings and a post-cancer Bermuda getaway are represented proudly on the boughs of our fluffy Douglas fir. The fact that our “first gift of Christmas” was a tree ornament, from the daughter that agrees we should pare down our decorations, speaks to the fact that she gets the joy thing. She knew just what it meant to me to receive the engraving, “There’s no place like home for the holidays.”
It also begs the question about getting even more “things.” We really don’t NEED anything, thank those higher powers and the hard work we have put in over the years. And our wants are simpler than most—no cars with bows in the driveway (the most annoying ads of the season), no diamond bracelets or space flights in the offing. But getting presents for our loved ones that make them gleeful gets us through the rest of the year. And when my Konenkii box arrived, I felt so happy to get some paperwhites, which I have always wanted to grace my winter windowsill. The white pashmina is the perfect accent to my holiday outfit; the journal will encourage me to jot down those resolutions…and help me keep them.
So, Marie, thank you for the inspiration—I have a box of Christmas decorations to donate, many more clothes are leaving my closet, and I really am going to see the surface of that desk very soon. But I know in my heart that a tiny house is not in my future, modern simplicity in all its clean and spare lines does not a home make (for me). I’m working on the clutter, honest, but, I just love looking at my new snow globe. The one I didn’t need—but it sure does give me joy.