Okay boys and girls, we are, by my calculation, slightly less than three weeks from the BIG Day, also known as Christmas ( never Xmas, I do not want the fundamentalists egging my house). We have had a fairly uneventful shopping season so far, only one casualty ( he had a heart attack at Target, not sure that really counts, unless he was being garroted at the time by someone with an X-Box cord), and a few minor kerfuffles like the woman in California spraying her competition in the electronics department of Walmart with pepper spray. Pretty civil all round.
I always miss the big days like Black Friday– it is quite refreshing isn’t it to see the word black associated with something positive in the media for a change–because I start shopping in January and am usually done by then. I would be in severe panic mode if most of my gifts were not wrapped and under the fake living room tree immediately following Thanksgiving dinner.
Christmas has, for a long time now, been a time of both great joy and anticipation and some tension. For example, balancing a joyous and memorable Christmas with impulses of crass materialism is hard. If you see something you know your spouse, kids, grandkids, parents, significant other, etc., would absolutely love, why not buy it for them. Never mind that their pile of gifts already threatens to stress out the floorboards under the tree and go crashing into the basement, they WANT it, and you can BUY it!
Are we altruistic in our giving? Do we want them to have it because it will make them happy? Will it make them happy? (Warning!! Dinosaur memory moment coming up! ) When I was a child, back when the earth was cooling, we got toys twice a year. On your birthday and at Christmas. When I say toys I mean maybe a doll and something smaller like a yoyo or one particularly memorable birthday, a hula hoop. Now kids get $20 toys on Tuesday evenings. Are they happier? Do they appreciate them? Do they even play with them? I know children who have literally rooms full of toys. They do not seem particularly content.
And what about adults. I do not want to admit what my closet looks like, but my husband’s makes mine look sparse, not counting the plastic containers of clothes he has stored at various storage locations at both the condo and the Ohio house. Does anyone really need all those clothes? Remember he is retired. I am only a couple of years from retirement, I presume all you Xenians are ready to see me strolling the hallowed halls of Walmart dressed to the teeth for the next decade or so. Be kind, I will not have anywhere else to wear all those clothes! If I happen to appear too often in velvet or sequins, do pull me aside and have a word. But I digress.
For Christmas we all try to give the perfect gift. One that is thoughtful, something the person wants and needs and something we can kind of afford. Or, like some folks, including some of my family members, you give gifts someone gave you that you did not like, did not fit or you cannot use. Anyway, we all try to adhere to the spirit of giving of the season. But is it really a season of giving? When I toss a dollar bill into the ubiquitous Salvation Army kettle and buy a pair of mittens for the Angel Tree at the mall why am I doing it? To help the poor or salve my conscience?
I claim to be a great proponent of social justice, but guess what i asked Santa ( aka hubby) for this Christmas? An iPad! Do I need an iPad to go with my iPhone and my Mac Air? How will an iPad change my quality of life? ( That was rhetorical tech-addicts) I do not know. I just know I want one. Because I gave him a Bose system two years ago he will probably pony up on the iPad. And, as every year, I will read the sob stories published in the paper about the woman with 7.9 children who lost her husband to a rabid badger bite , incurred when the badger was driven from under their house when it caught fire due to the candle catching the curtains because their lights had been turned off due to no money to pay the bill, because they had both lost their jobs at the chicken gutting plant in Snake’s Navel due to the Recession, and I will feel bad that I am sitting in my warm home, with lights on, without 7.9 children, too high up in the air for a rabid badger to get to unless he has a jet pack and with a job.
Perhaps I can write a stirring editorial for the local paper on the way we haves need to help the have-nots. I will try it first thing Christmas morning, on my new iPad.
Merry Christmas to all.
God bless us every one.
Free the Elves!!