My Obsession With New

New.  I want new shoes, new clothes and new toys.  I want new gifts and I give new gifts.  Until a couple months ago, I considered it normal.  In fact, I didn’t consider it at all.  But these last few months I have been asking myself, “What is my obsession with new?”   It’s not just me, either.  It’s everyone I know.  Last year, I hosted four baby showers and attended more than that.  I also attended more birthday parties for my kids than I can even remember.  Every special occasion requires new gifts, party favors, cakes and toys.  I, too, have been the recipient of three beautiful and wonderful baby showers and my friends have purchased more toys and gifts for my children’s birthdays than I can recount.

I love celebrating new babies and I love celebrating the birthdays of my children and my friends’ children, I really do!  But wait….do we really have to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars each year to tell someone we love them?  Really??  What is so terrible with giving a used gift?

Is NEW an American obsession and a symptom of a wealthy, self-indulgent culture?  I’m beginning to think it is.

I recently attended a baby shower and I had the perfect gift; a beautiful, Kelty baby-carrier, hiking backpack.  I have used it less than a half-dozen times over the last five years and I thought cialis comprar my hiker friend would just love it.  It’s worth a couple hundred dollars new.  But, it’s used.  It felt socially unacceptable to wrap up a used gift and present it at a baby shower.  I bowed to culture and instead of a backpack, I bought a few new baby outfits at Babies R Us.  Why??

A few nights ago, my daughter wanted her Easter Bunny for bedtime.  I found the pink rabbit and she delightfully snuggled up with it.  I smiled.  What she didn’t care about was that this bunny had been a “pre-loved” gift for her at her baby shower.  It came from my dear friend, Michelle, who’s daughter had enjoyed the stuffed animal and then passed it along to my daughter, who now loves it.  Every time I see this bunny, my heart is warmed and I think of my sweet friend and her beautiful children.  I appreciate my daughter’s gift MORE because it was pre-loved.  It has happy memories attached to it for me and it’s a little softer and a little more loveable for my daughter since it came broken in.  Used items can be good.

I know a delightful and kind woman with a green card who’s a novice at American culture and life.  She’s been residing in the US for just over two years and working an entry-level position as she learned the language and the American way of life.  Her dreams are coming true with the expectation of a baby boy.  This sweet woman moved to the US with just a couple suitcases and had to start over from nothing.  She told me she only had three forks and three plates in her house; one for her, her husband and her son.  What?!  My mind can hardly imagine it!

I decided to throw her a surprise baby shower and I asked my friends to bring nicely used baby items for her.  We had bag upon bag of everything a new mom could want!  Baby monitors, bibs, clothes, hats, shoes, toys, diaper bags and nursing cover-ups.  It was remarkable!  Everything was used of course but it didn’t matter.  Moms like me were happy to see their beloved baby clothes go to someone they knew would love and use them.  And the mom-to-be….she cried tears of joy all that day and the next day!  She was so grateful and thankful.

I learned a lesson.  In fact, my heart changed.  I want to be more like my thankful Romanian friend.  I can’t change culture and the expectations of the world around me, but I can change myself.  So this year, if my dear friends decide to host another baby shower for me (baby number five is coming in June,) I’m requesting used items only.

My obsession with new is becoming a distain.  Used items for me please, and a grateful heart to go with it!

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