Here's the thing. There are things about the holiday season that I love, truly love. The music, the food, the family togetherness, the marvelous television specials, receiving cards from friends and family who are far away. Heck, I even love the Christmas card letters.
But something's been gnawing at me, and last night it all bubbled to the surface.
It's the present thing. It's out of control, people. Kids in TV land, you're being duped!
We're being sold on this idea that the only way to show people that you care about them is by running out to the mall or, even more, the big box retailer that treats human beings like cattle, and spend as much of your hard-earned money as possible. Preferably with plastic. The kind that, at best, overdraws your checking account. At worst, puts you in some really amazing debt.
How did this happen to us? How did we get the idea that if you love somebody, you need to buy them a bunch of mass-produced crap that probably has lead paint in it. And, if you're extra lucky, it was made by some kids in a third world country who work eighteen-hour shifts for pennies a day! Awesome! Because that's the spirit of Christmas/Hannukah/Kwaanza, right?
I saw something on the news the other day that gave me hope. This guy is spreading a new gospel. True, he's not likely to be taken seriously. But what if we all listened?
Would it ruin our holidays to skip (or at least greatly reduce) the gifts?
How much is too much?
How much do you really need?
Where is it going to go?
Who gets hurt because of this gift?
And while I was considering these questions, one of my favorite bloggers wrote about a great campaign in the U.K. One that really, in my mind, fits the bill.
So, if you're reading this and you were going to buy me a gift, don't. There are a lot of fantastic charities out there who need it more than I do. I have plenty of stuff. More than I'll ever need, really. And if you need charitable suggestions, I've made a great shopping list for you.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Boys & Girls Club
And there are so many more who need help.
I won't begrudge you the tax deduction, either.
Tomorrow? How to approach the kids and sell them on the idea.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007