Monday, December 04, 2006

A Rant For December

Today seems like a good day for a rant. It got off to a craptacular start when the alarm sounded mid-dream, just as the some grand mystery was about to be resolved. It went steadily downhill when The Little Emperor awoke and we were trying to get ready for school. He couldn't decide what to bring for show'n'tell and couldn't find the one thing he was determined to bring. I ended up screaming at him, we were late, I didn't find his hat, and it's about 10 degrees F here this morning. Is that 10 f'in' degrees? Anyhow, we got to school, I did my volunteer stint, which went well, and now I'm home looking at email. One of the items in my Inbox is a notice from Herrschner's, the capital of kitsch, plugging their quick gift items. I didn't even wait for the graphics to load before I felt a rant taking shape in my head.

Years ago, toward the end of my high school days, I had a favorite rant about Gift Shops. Or Shoppes if you prefer. It dawned on me that about 85% of the stuff in a typical gift shop has no purpose other than to give! Decorative (using the word loosely) little doodads that sit on a shelf and need to be dusted. Or put in a little glass case, so you don't need to dust so often. They usually don't rise to the level of art, or even folk art. I'm all for crafting a useful, everyday item so well that it rises to the level of art. That to me would be a great gift. But I don't understand the appeal of things like Hummel figurines that are tacky, expensive, fragile, and useless. Gift shop. Blech. Stores full of this stuff: designed and manufactured to be sold as gifts, because it has no other purpose for being! Stores dedicated to selling items with no use other than to give. So, in the moment that the first Santa-dressed Teddy Bear image uploaded in the Herschnerr's message, my whole 1978 rant about America's inane love of stuff came flooding back into my brain.

And now I've shared it with you. Bah Humbug.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rant on, Sister! I rant the same thing every year at Christmas. My stepmom can out-knick-knack anyone I've ever seen, and I had to dust it all as a kid. What is with all this stuff that just sits around and doesn't even look all that great.

Bezzie said...

I tossed a lot of knicknacky stuff when we moved so I can't fully absolve myself from this rant. However, I can't remember the last time I gifted someone something like that, so I guess I can claim a small bit of absolution right?

cpurl17 said...

oops, better cancel that Precious Moments Nativity scene I had on order for you..

cpurl17 said...

oops, better cancel that Precious Moments Nativity scene I had on order for you..

Elizabeth said...

Nah, cpurl, you don't have to do that: I can sell it on Ebay and buy yarn! (Cause I'm running low on that. ;-) )

Carol said...

My mom collected everything. I mean everything! When she passed away, I can't tell you the time and effort it took going through and getting rid of that "stuff". I hate to admit though, I have attachments to some things, but I keep my "collection" small (not the yarn).

Laura said...

ok, I admit that I like LOOKING at knick-knacks, but I rarely buy any.

I did just buy a curio cabinet for the little things that I have--mostly things that were given to me or things that I bought on special trips. As soon as I got everything in there I thought: which of these things can I get rid of?

Sarah said...

Yeah, not a collector of doo dads here.

The Mary Maxim catalog ooooooh. Shudder.

Much like Harriet Carter of the crafting world.

YarnThrower said...

I've had similar experiences with show and tell. I guess it's good for the kids to get up and talk in front of their classes, but the panic it has caused on a morning or two here has not been all that fun...

I'm with you on the knick-knacks, too. I have a few around the house, but I'm not that great of a duster, so it's minimal.....and you're right -- not too useful for the gift receivers, either.....

Jenny said...

I made one of those sequin things when I was a kid. It was a peacock. I think it's still in the closet at my mom's house.

I really hate stuff that has no purpose. Sadly, my mom and aunt both LOVE to shop in gift shops and they always get me tons of crap for Christmas, birthday, etc., even when I tell them I don't need or want more stuff. They shop all year round, mostly because they think it's fun (even better when stuff is on clearance, you can buy MORE!) and have no regard for my feelings.

Don't even get me started on my mom's beanie baby collection.

Kathy Kathy Kathy said...

Yah, can't really get into the knick knacks. I like my objets d'arts functional for the most part.