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Clemens v. Vogelsang Author URL: https://www.flickr.com/people/vauvau/

Clemens v. Vogelsang
Author URL: https://www.flickr.com/people/vauvau/

This is the time of year when gadgets seem to crawl out of the woodwork. Catalogs, Internet coupon offers, store racks, mall kiosks. Organize this. Open that. Charge this. Store that. Cook this. Hang that. Press, clip, mark, etc., etc. They come in all sizes.

What are all these things for? Why do we buy them?

Frankly, we seem to buy a lot of them to give away-—that’s why they appear in such abundance at this time of year. So we don’t hang around to see if they’re actually any good.

We buy some because they seem like a good idea, even though we know from experience that most of the time they don’t do what they claim to do or they’re such a nuisance to use that we don’t bother.

Sometimes we persuade ourselves we need a particular gadget, especially if it involves electronics.

Sometimes something is just plain cute, and functionality is beside the point.

This year I find myself asking whether these gadgets simplify our tasks or complicate them.

I made a conscious effort in 2014 to thin down the “stuff” around my house, including gadgets of various sorts. I cleaned several closets, and when we did some updating in our kitchen, I got rid of a lot of stuff I haven’t used in years. This includes some small appliance that fall in the category of “gadgets” in my book.

I’m not saying I’ll never buy or gift another gadget, but I’d like to think that if I bring something new into the house, I’ll consider sending something else out of the house.

• What do you think? Are there any gadgets on your Christmas wish list or shopping list this year? What do you think is the real reason we’re so fascinated with gadgets?

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