A Plastic Santa and the Red Velvet Cake

part 1: a plastic santa

It looks like Christmas exploded…on my dining room table. 


Every wreath, reindeer, and Santa I own has migrated into this room.  All I can say is wow, that’s a lot of stuff.  I blame it all on retail stores and their post-holiday nearly-free sales.  I mean, who can walk away from a $45 plastic Santa on sale for $8? 

After evaluating this pile of Christmas cheer that hides out in plastic bins 11 months of the year, it became clear that I have enough.

Do you get a high from acquiring and consuming?  You know what I mean.  That little jump in your heart when you get new designer jeans or a shiny new what-cha-ma-call-it.  Unless you toss an item each time you get something new, your possessions keep piling up.  There continues to be more. 

So I ask, when is enough…enough? 

I’m half-way through my life now, and realize that at some point, a person just needs to sit back and say…I’m satisfied.  I have all I need.  My back isn’t meant to carry any more stuff.  Another new purse…or electronic gadget…or house…or car…or plastic Santa isn’t going to make me any healthier or happier.  I have enough.

part 2: and the red velvet cake

Think about your favorite dessert.  Pick a really good one.  One that you love, like a peanut butter pie or this red velvet cake. 

Cut a big slice.  Now, take a bite. Go ahead…enjoy it.  Yummy-yum-yum!  Now take another bite, and another, and another, until it’s gone. 

Which bite gave you the most satisfaction?  I’ll bet you said the first.  After the first bite, the pleasure drops.  But, most of us keep eating anyway.  Even though the thrill drops with each bite, we continue to shove cake into our faces until we’re too stuffed to move.  We secretly unzip those designer jeans (just a little).  We go way beyond the point of simple satisfaction…and usually leave the table feeling guilty for the 1,000 calorie binge. 

The same goes with life.  There are a lot of first bites in a day, in a year, in a lifetime.  And, most of these are the simple pleasures that don’t cause a deficit in our bank accounts.  The key is to recognize them, enjoy them, and to know that they are the key to confidently saying I have enough.

If you want to go deep:  What aspects of your life are you most satisfied with? 

If you want to go shallow:  Would you rather have a plastic Santa or one bite of red velvet cake?


7 responses to this post.

  1. Living in NYC with limited space you get good at keeping things to a minimum. I try to throw out something everytime I buy something new. Somehow that never works with Christmas decorations. I can’t ever throw any out. They all seem to have some sentimental attachment for me. Which is why I had trouble fitting them all back in their boxes this year. But I have stopped buying them. The new ones are the ones I invariably get as a gift.


    • Selling New York on HGTV makes me want to live in NYC. The idea of having the vibe of the city accessable 24/7 is very tempting. A few years ago my mother gave me 2 plastic bins filled with things from my childhood. My teddy bear, baby book, prom dress, and that kind of stuff. Talk about sentimental! I think I’ll be keeping those bins forever, so understand what you mean about attachment.


  2. Posted by Andie on January 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    You make a great point about savoring the first bite (in life and regarding material possessions). It’s a nice metaphor for life. Afterall, we can’t take the “stuff” with us, can we? and would we want to? On the deep end of things…maybe we also need to look at what we can leave behind. On the shallow end of things…I am now craving Red Velvet Cake and after reading today’s blog I am pretty sure that one bite would be enough to satisfy me. Back to the deep end of things- I think I am already pretty full. I have all that I need.


  3. Wow – a very insightful point about focusing on what we CAN leave behind. Our Christmas crap isn’t going to have any value, but our legacies might. And I’m with you – I’m all about the red velvet cake!


  4. Okay, first I have to say that the red velvet cake looks HEAVENLY! I wanna stick my finger into that icing and gobble it up! OMG, I LOVE sweets!

    I’m not one to accumulate things. I live very simply. It seems that the less ‘stuff’ I have in my life, the happier and freer I feel. Now, that’s not to say that I never went through a period of acquiring and consuming things, because I did. However, I learned my own lifes’ lesson. Less is more.

    The only thing I really desire to spend money on, is traveling. Traveling is such a wonderful education.

    Great post, Tracy!

    Have a super weekend!


  5. Sorry Ron, the cake is spoken for along with its icing, but I’ll be sure to save a piece for ya next time. I’m with you on the traveling priority. I’d much rather have the cash-ola to spend on a vacation than have another plastic Santa.


  6. Bite of red velvet cake, hands down. One year I was obsessed with nativity scenes…you do not want to know how many sets I own…all packed away in the loft for many years. Yes, I need to take them and donate and enjoy a bite of red velvet cake…love the analogy!


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