Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Belated Christmas Ramble- My gift to you!

Sorry, I was too busy stuffing myself silly to post a cheerful greeting yesterday.
I hope those of you who do the Christmas thing had an awesome one, and those of you who don't do Christmas enjoyed sitting around in your undies all day.

My whole 'make Christmas suck less' was not completely on key this year. I'd noticed that Christmas wasn't as big and ridiculous this year- which I guess was what I secretly hoped for, sort of. I noticed fewer snacks at work, fewer cards received, and fewer and cheaper presents than usual too. I'm guessing it is half economic and half that maybe people feel like Christmas is too stressful and out of control. This probably means that a lot of people feel like I do.

But it seams like doing less of the same simply made Christmas even more lackluster. I want new traditions! I want increased joy at doing things together instead of fewer presents. I want more time with friends and family and I want that quality of time that you sometimes need to put a little special effort into.

In my fictitious Utopian land everyone would get a stocking filled with small fun things, a new pair of pj's, a simple gift- a video game or book, and then the family would share in something nice- a vacation, gaming system, outing, new couch, whatever. Friends who exchange gifts would exchange books or small unostentatious gifts. But all this would be done together- with intent to enjoy each other and practice the thankfulness that has all but disappeared from Thanksgiving. To give gifts that would be appreciated rather than a gift that meets some monetary requirement. I want the time, money, thought, and effort I put into a present to show my appreciation for the person receiving my gift and I want them to understand and appreciate this right back.

When there is such poverty all over the world and such debt in America, pruning Christmas down to size just seems right to me. There has to be a true spirit of Christmas regardless of your belief in Christ, otherwise this whole thing- the presents, the food, all of it is just an excuse to behave recklessly with our money and health to gratify our own selfish desires.

It is like what I say to people who suggest that I can do the same work in the private sector for much greater pay. If I got paid $10,000 more a year I would just buy $10,000 more shoes. I have plenty of shoes, but what I require is to go home at the end of the day and feel good about how I spent my time. I don't think I could do that working at Microsoft or Nordstrom.
Christmas shouldn't be about shoes, it should be about people. Next year I am going to get started on the Make Christmas Awesome campaign by sewing and filling stockings for my family. Maybe all these baby steps will culminate in the magical Christmas that I've been dreaming of but it probably won't, but I always feel best when I do my best and maybe that will make everyone else feel just that much better.

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