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How to Shed Those Holiday Pounds in Just 1 Day

Just after Halloween, I had an inkling that a problem was emerging.  By Thanksgiving, it had become noticeable. As Christmas neared, it could no longer be ignored. I was gaining weight at an alarming rate.

How could I have gained so much weight during the holiday season? Usually I don’t make excuses, but this time I can honestly say I had no control over the situation. It wasn’t my fault.  It crept up on me a little at a time.  No, I’m not talking about excessive holiday indulgence.  By the time Christmas arrived, I had received nearly 40 pounds of catalogs in the mail.

The day after Halloween, five catalogs arrived in the mail. As I stood in our foyer weeding out the junk mail, Oregano said, “I’ve never even heard of some of these companies. For fun, why don’t we save all the catalogs we get between now and Christmas?”

“I’m not sure I’d classify that as fun, but it would be interesting to see what kinds of catalogs we get. This one is addressed to the shipping department manager. Is that me or you?” I laughed while waving a giant catalog offering packing peanuts, bubble wrap and boxes of all sizes.

And so it began. Each day I checked the mailbox. It was rare to find only one catalog.  Before long, we had made a tower on the hall table and when that started to teeter, we created a second one.  Just before Christmas, our cat stepped on the shorter tower of catalogs and sent them cascading to the floor. We decided it was time to end our experiment before someone needed medical attention.

We picked up the fallen catalogs and began stacking them on the floor. It was an impressive collection of junk mail.

an impressive pile of junk mail

an impressive pile of junk mail

“Look! It comes all the way up to your knees!” Oregano marveled.

“I wonder how much all of this weighs?” I said as I went to get the scale.

Very carefully, we transferred the pile of slippery, glossy pages; 38.5 pounds! Always the statistician, Oregano decided to catalog our catalogs. In all, there were 156 catalogs from 86 different companies. Some of them were from retailers we had shopped at previously, but most were not.

Thanks to this excessive show of convenient commercialism, I could enjoy the holidays without all the fuss of ever going to a store. Using the catalogs, I could dress myself in a complete outfit starting from the Spanx on up. Continuing my mail order shopping spree, I could accessorize that outfit with shoes, jewelry and handbags. Without ever leaving my home, I could furnish and decorate it completely. As long as I’ll have a snazzy, new outfit and a cozy home, I should have a holiday party. No need to leave the house to get the supplies. With catalogs offering cheese, fruit, meat, tea and flour, I could order everything I’d need; from the food I’d be serving to the appliances I’d be using to prepare it.  After my busy schedule of entertaining, I will need to unwind using the luxury bath soaps and snuggly pajamas delivered to my doorstep. With all these catalogs at my disposal, I could lead a full life without ever leaving the comfort of my home.

This vast assortment of catalogs would make it a pleasure to shop for everyone on our list.  For the people who always return their gifts or for the person who has everything, we have a catalog that would allow us to give their gifts to someone else.  For $850, we could buy a camel in their honor and donate it to a family in a developing country. That seemed pricey, but having never done any comparative shopping for camels, I have no idea how much they go for these days. While this is an intriguing idea, it does leave me with some questions, not the least of which is just how do they ship a camel? Does it ride along in the mail truck or do they make it walk to its final destination? Hopefully the costs are not determined by weight unless they offer free shipping.

For those of us with generous spirits and smaller paychecks, there are animals at lower price points. Compared to the camel, a $500 heifer seems like a bargain. Sure, you can’t ride a heifer through the desert, but you can get milk. The always versatile pigs, goats and sheep would set us back $120 each. The most affordable animals to give are honeybees. I can just imagine the smiling faces of the recipients as they open a box filled with bees.

Look how happy a box of bees can make someone.

I didn’t order anything from these catalogs. With the exception of the catalog filled with farm animals, I didn’t even thumb through them to browse the merchandise. They were a total waste of resources from the paper they were printed on to the fuel needed to transport them. But, I will say this; it was a satisfying feeling to drop all that holiday weight – right into the recycling bin.

Linus puts the cat in catalog.

Linus puts the cat in catalog.

About Paprika Furstenburg

I was born with an overly developed sense of humor and poor coordination. The combination of these two character traits has taught me humility and given me the perspective to find the funny in everyday experiences.

32 responses »

  1. Your cat needs to meet my cat. We call her “the professor,” because she can’t resist stretching out on reading material and computer keyboards! Great job pointing out wastefulness through humor!

    • What is it with cat’s and reading material. I swore my cats could hear me opening the cover of a book or magazine no matter where they were in the house. I’m sad to report that apparently it has nothing to do with the sound of a book cover, I was reading on my Kindle and they moseyed right on over and sat down on it. They are no friends to literacy.

      I’m glad you like my humorous spin on junk mail. Thanks 🙂

  2. I look forward to Oregano’s full statistical report!! I’m sure Basil will enjoy it also!!

  3. what a clever idea – and a fun post. Linus has got it right.
    it would be interesting to see the math on online ‘junk mail’. i recently agreed to provide my email address to one of my favourite candle stores on your side of the 49th parallel while on a day trip in your fair country. getting notice of a sale once a week or every couple of weeks seems very useful.
    however since then i have received one almost every day, and on some days more than one. at least it is just a matter of deleting them rather than laying them on the ground for Timmy to trip over. Timmy actually likes catalogues and magazines, and if he happens to find one on the floor, he will lie down on it, or rest his head on it.
    but this virtual ‘junk mail’ is something else. how many keystrokes of deletes is that in a month? in a year? and where does all that cyber recycling end up?
    in any case, i still enjoy the candles. but i might need to unsubscribe on those emails. thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. We collected those catalogs, but it took me quite a while to come up with a clever way to work them into a post.

      What is it with cats and magazines/catalogs? Sam and Linus also love flopping around on them.

      The virtual junk mail is becoming a problem, too. There are some companies I honestly want to sign up for to receive notice of sales or coupons, but then my inbox is flooded with numerous emails a day. I wind up unsubscribing.

  4. Love this! As I am married to Captain Environ-Mental, he calls every single company from which we receive a catalog and expresses his righteous indignation. That being said, I notice you have some of my faves, including the classic Pajamagram. You think camels are pricey, check out those high priced flannels!

    • I LOVE that you call your husband “Captain Enviro-Mental”. I think Oregano could be his sidekick, but, at least he doesn’t call the companies that send the catalogs. Given the amount of catalogs we received, that would have been a full time job.

      I liked the idea of the Pajamagram, but I didn’t look through the catalog to see their prices. Now I’m glad I didn’t.

  5. When we lived in France, we could put a sign on our mailbox that said: “Pas de Solicitation” — no solicitations. You didn’t get all the crap in the mail.

    That said, my husband always gets me a Heiffer International goat for Christmas. They really do help folks in various countries in Africa. But camels spit

    • I wish I could put one of those signs in my mailbox. Just when I thought all the catalog delivery was finished, I went home yesterday to find 5 more waiting for me. I’m going to have to do some research on how to stop the flow of junk mail.

      I like the idea of donating a goat. Oregano had school desks donated as one of my gifts. Both are an easy way to make a difference.

  6. You hooked me and reeled me in, Paprika. Funny stuff. If only it was that easy to get rid of the other weight made possible by the goodies from some of those same magazines.

    We did buy a goat for someone in another country. My worry is whether the company has any money left over to buy that goat after they’ve spent so much on the glossy magazines

    • Thanks, Judy. I’m glad I hooked you in. I was trying to find a way to make the topic fun and interesting.

      I think donating a farm animal is an interesting idea. I know that it can make a big difference for these families. What I’m curious about is how that family will manage to feed and care for the animal once it is there. Who knows, maybe they feed the goats the paper from the catalogs.

  7. I’m always amazed at how many catalogs arrive every winter, but how clever to analyze the whole situation in such a humorous and clever way!! And with Mr. Statistic to enhance the analysis!! A really fun read! xoxo

  8. If only it were this easy and fun[?] to shed those real pounds!

  9. As for purchasing a camel, I suggest buying one on Wednesday….for obvious reasons. For the person that you have difficulty finding the right gift, why not gift wrap a few catalogs and pass them along. It presents a new form of “passing it forward.” You might also start a new kind of chain letter so that when your name gets to the top of the letter you get thousands of unwanted catalogs (you could even put the same of someone you are not fond of on the list so that they would reap the benefits of your mischievous thoughts). Lastly, you did not address the issue of the correct spelling of catalog(ue). Perhaps a quick call to a certain former vice president might be in order.

    • Good point, Bob! Maybe they have a discount for camels purchased on Wednesday.

      It would be funny to wrap the catalogs and give them as gifts. Probably not as funny if you’re on the receiving end of that joke.

  10. The Restoration Hardware Catalog alone weighs 40 pounds! I signed up for Catalog Choice which helped eliminate some catalogs from my mailbox but sadly it’s just a drop in the bucket.

    • Believe it or not, Restoration Hardware was one of the few catalogs we didn’t get.

      I’ll have to check out Catalog Choice. I’m sure my postman will be happy if I do.

      • We have all but eliminated our catalogue problem with Catalog Choice. Eternal vigilance really is the price of peace. I am so much happier without them.

      • You’re the second person who’s commented on Catalog Choice. I’m definitely going to check it out. I thought the onslaught of uninvited mail would stop after Christmas, but the other day there were 5 catalogs waiting for me. Kudos to you for stopping them!

  11. My favorite catalogs are the seed catalogs that come around Christmas. They bring that hope of spring which is welcome right about now.

  12. That was quite a pile! I love the caption for Linus’s picture with the bounty. Some more statistics for your readers: During the two months of the experiment, about 40 of these companies sent more than 1 catalog, and one company sent 12 catalogs! That’s more than 1 per week! Do they honestly think that this is necessary?!

  13. ROFL! I love that caption at the end “Linus puts the cat in catalog”!

    If only all extra weight was as easy to shift as this. I’m with you though on the value of the catalogs – 99.9% of them go straight into the recycling bag, without me even glancing at them. What a waste of glossy paper and ink… never mind the extra work for the poor posties who cycle up and down our streets delivering this junk.

    • Linus is quite a character. We spread all those catalogs out on the floor to get an idea of which ones we had received. He thought we had created a new bed for him to sleep on.

      When I realized the weight of this pile I also thought of the poor postal employee who had to deliver all these catalogs. They must be relieved that the holiday season is over.

      Sending out these catalogs must still be profitable for these companies, but I don’t see how since they all have websites.


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