Merry Christmas from Recovering Shopaholic!

Many bloggers are taking time off this week and next to enjoy time with their families and friends for Christmas and New Year’s.  Since I’m not traveling and don’t have any elaborate holiday plans, I will continue with my regular posting schedule.   I was going to share a “photography interlude” (see previous versions here) today, but I decided to veer off a bit and go with a holiday theme.

A Christmas Retrospective

In today’s post, I share some of my Christmas photos from years past, from my wee years through to my 40’s.  As I mentioned in my last post, I used to be a big fan of holiday theme wear, as you will see in many of the images below.  These days, I no longer have any Christmas sweaters, but I used to wear holiday garb every single day from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, along with lots of Christmas jewelry, Santa hats, and the like. I was definitely what you might call very “spirited.”

Part of my style evolution has involved moving away from the cutesy and whimsical and embodying a more sophisticated, classic, and minimalist style.  My idea of holiday dressing now may include wearing red or green or perhaps a bit of sparkle and shine, but overt shows of Christmas spirit no longer grace my body.   But the photographic evidence remains and in the holiday spirit, I share it with you today.   I include brief descriptions under each photo, but many of them are pretty self-explanatory and may make you laugh or smile.

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On Self-Care, Clearing Backlogs, and Taking a Break

It’s a known fact that many women have a tendency to put themselves last. They expend the majority of their time and energy taking care of other people, such that they can become totally depleted and have nothing left to give to themselves. This phenomenon is common among mothers of young children and members of the “sandwich generation,” but it can happen to all of us.   And for those of us who struggle with compulsive shopping or other addictive behaviors, not taking care of our own needs can set us up for exacerbating those issues.

This has been the case for me in recent months.   No, I don’t have small children or elderly parents with failing health, but I also don’t really have a lot to give at this point.   I have been struggling more so than usual with my health over the past few months and have also been investing a great deal of energy in trying to help a sick friend who is really in a bad way.  I have also been spending many hours each week going to various medical and holistic practitioner appointments, which only seem to be eating up my time and money without doing much good.   And I often lose entire days or partial days as a result of feeling just plain awful.

lake tahoe clouds

Beautiful Lake Tahoe, where I will visit during September (my dad’s photo). 

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Things to Do Besides Shopping – Cultivating New Hobbies and Pastimes

Before I dive into today’s topic, I want to thank all those who took the time to either comment on my last post or send me personal messages.  I appreciate all of the kind words and helpful suggestions I have received and I feel blessed to have such a compassionate and generous group of readers.   Due to the sheer volume of comments, I probably won’t be able to respond to each one individually, but please know that I am extremely grateful to everyone who took the time to write to me.  It truly means a lot to me that you care so much about me and my well-being.   I will respond to as many of you as I can in the coming days.

I would like to continue on the topic of hobbies and pastimes today.   I was originally going to share a new interest I’ve recently started to explore, but since I received so many wonderful ideas for new activities, I thought I’d share some of them here first.  I know that not everyone reads the comments on this blog, but so many great suggestions were offered to me that I’d like to pass them along. I know many of you also wrestle with ways to spend your time besides shopping, so perhaps some of the possibilities below will resonate with you.   I will share my new hobby in a post next week (and yes, it’s included on the list below).

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Is Shopping Your Only Hobby?

The other day, I saw something written on a forum that really made me think:

Seriously, it’s just clothes.  How empty must your life be if your only hobby is shopping?”

In fact, that quote didn’t just make me think – it actually made me cringe and almost cry.   It hit just a little too close to home for me.   I haven’t written about the “full life” issue for a while, so I think it’s high time for another one of my open, honest, and emotionally raw posts.  These posts aren’t easy for me to write, but they do help me explore important issues, and I also think they strike a chord with many readers.

Default Activity

Shopping hobby

Is shopping your default activity for all of your emotional states? 

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The Clothes We Wear at Home

The following is a guest post from Terra Trevor, author, essayist, memoirist and nonfiction writer of a widely published diverse body of work, who believes good humor is more attractive than good clothes that hang in the closet and are seldom worn.

Terra has cultivated a small workable wardrobe, with a spotlight on her full life and the clothes she wears at home. Visit her at terratrevor.blogspot.com.

Terra Trevor

Terra Trevor, enjoying her life and her workable wardrobe

It was one of those days. I couldn’t wait to get home from work and change my clothes. A heavy July fog rolled in and I was so tired I decided to put on my bathrobe. After dinner my husband sliced watermelon. It was my turn to wash the dishes. What could it possibly hurt, I thought, if I left the dirty dishes sitting on the table for a while? We generally kept our house clean, yet on this day the rest of the house was a mess, with sandy beach towels, the picnic basket and cooler from a pleasure-filled weekend strewn in the hall, so I decided to let the kitchen go, too. What I really wanted to do was read my book.

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