Wednesday, December 12, 2012
There's Nothing Under the Tree
Don't worry about us. Don't call the charity elves to deliver boxes of canned goods and day-old bread. This year we're not shopping. The spouse and I had our usual pre-Christmas conversation:
Spouse: What do you want for Christmas?
Me: I don't know. I don't need anything. What do you want?
Spouse: I don't know. Whenever I want something, I just buy it.
Me: Yeah, me too.
We decided that we weren't buying anything for each other. I had a similar conversation with my daughter while we were visiting her in Texas at Thanksgiving. She also said she didn't need more stuff and I told her we didn't need anything either. Today I sent her gift cards for Home Depot since she and her husband are working on installing hard wood flooring throughout their house. Merry Christmas, Sarah, you can buy yourself big tubs of flooring adhesive for Christmas!
I told my daughter I wanted more grandchildren for Christmas. Unfortunately, that factory is closed. I settled for negotiating to have the girls with us for a longer period next summer. I did buy the grands a small gift to open, but like the rest of us, they don't need more stuff either. Santa will bring the girls a few toys, but their parents are giving them coupon books for experiences. They can cash them in for things like a special outing, doing a craft project with Mom, or getting a pass on chores.
I can't think of a single thing that I want badly enough to venture into the malls. The things I like about Christmas are not the materials things...unless I see something that I want, and then I'll just buy it!
At the risk of being called a Grinch, one of my peeves is all of the toy drives during Christmas. I was at the dollar store this week and the cashier was asking each customer if he/she wanted to purchase an item to "support our troops." There was a huge box at the end of the counter filled with dollar store items that had been purchased. Really? Do our troops really want to receive crap from the dollar store? What is the message we're sending? "I support you enough to buy you this $1.00 plastic backscratcher."
There's a chain store in this area that collects shoes for foster kids and another that collects pajamas. While I appreciate that their intent is to help the less fortunate, what are the chances that the right size and style is going to find its way to the right needy kid? A lot of the collection effort seems to me to be about making it a feel good experience for the donors, not meeting the needs of kids. Maybe I am a cynic, but if we want to help a needy family, we shouldn't be guessing about what we think they need. We should give them gift cards to buy exactly what they want and need.
Oh, bah humbug! I started writing about how blessed I am to live an abundant life and I have deteriorated to Scrooge-like complaining. I think I need to put on some Christmas music and get my Christmas spirit back.
Happy Holidays to all of you.