03 December 2006


An entire year's worth of catalogs, right? Wrong.

A season's worth? Nope.

These are the holiday catalogs that I've received since the week before Thanksgiving, starting the day I got the first mailbox-bursting bundle. In other words, it's about 2 weeks worth of catalogs...the first half of the holiday season. From here on out, I assume I'll get a roughly equal number of "Last Chance to Order" editions.

Last Friday, the mailman didn't even attempt to cram my mail into the box. He just left it on the stoop in a criscross of big rubber bands. Bad sign.

A few more comments:

- This pile represents catalogs only. I didn't cheat and bulk it up with magazines.

- This isn't acutally all catalogs I've received. I've recycled the ones I know I'm not going to use (Victoria's Secret, Harry & David, and another one that apparently consists of nothing but various kinds of English muffins and jams). And I've removed from the pile ones I wanted to read or use right away. I'd say these cullings have reduced the pile by about 1.5".

- These catalogs are in my name only. My husband is the only other person in the household, and he doesn't order from catalogs. Presumably, if he were also a catalog user, this stack could be twice as high.

Now the big question: Why am I keeping all these?

Because I use them. I really do most of my holiday shopping via catalog, and my family has received better gifts because of it. Sure, when I go to the mall, I find some surprisingly good stuff, and I've done some fairly successful holiday shopping at malls. But I don't like going to the mall. When it comes to small, special gifts and cards, I prefer to give the business to local shops and do the shopping on foot. And when it comes to finding gifts that really fit the recipient's needs and wants, I just can't beat the catalogs for specificity, variety, speed, and service. Specific opera DVDs for my parents, an illustrated book of fairies for my sister-in-law who loves fantasy, shoe cleats for my brother who just bought a house in the snowy suburbs...I really don't think I could have gotten those gifts so quicky and easily if I had to drive from store to store. I also find catalogs a great way to shop for clothes and shoes in my exact sizes. Going to a department store, while visually stimulating, is more of a crapshoot. And if something does need to be returned, sending it back by USPS, UPS, or FedEx is actually easier than toting it back to the store.

These catalogs are sitting here in a pile, waiting for me to place them in a file cabinet where I really do have a manila folder for each catalog company to hold the latest catalog edition, along with receipts for orders placed. That's my project for the rest of the night.


  1. I'm not much of a catalog shopper during the year, but they're a saving grace during the holidays.

    My new A5 Filofax--my first--arrived and it's the best-looking planner I've ever seen. I haven't had a moment to start moving my life to it. . .but will, hopefully very soon. (although it doesn't have any 2006 calendar pages, so I'm going to have to make my own if I want to start using it this month). And I better, as I have NO shopping plan in place yet. :-)

  2. It seems though that so many catalogues is very unfriendly to the environment. All my shopping for Xmas is 90% online , nearly everything has come from Amazon or Muji that I can do from any PC I'm sat at. I swapped Amazon Wishlists with my partner, how sad is that?!

  3. You're right about the environmental issue, Keven. The problem is, except for Amazon and similar places, the more you order online, the more catalogs they send you!

    I've got some tree-hugging planned for my next post, so stay tuned!

    P.S. Congratulations on your purchase, Jeff. Ah -- nothing like the smell of new leather! Have fun pouring your life into it. I recommend a glass of chilled chardonnay and an assortment of ink colors. (Er, in pens, that is, not in the wine!)


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