Sunday, November 23, 2008

The spirit of Christmas, revisited.

Okay, it seems I came off a little *harsh* in my last post. Ops! Didn't realize there was actually somebody reading this thing ;)
I think it's wonderful that people spend their hard earned money on gifts for other people. I think it's tragic that some people max out their credit cards every year because they feel compelled to express their love with gifts they can't afford.
If someone happens to buy me a gift this year, I will say "Thank you very much! Merry Christmas!" and I will not turn my nose up because it's not "home made" I will feel very grateful that I have received a gift at all.
It may even be possible (maybe just a little) that I'm over compensating for the fact that this year I can't afford to buy as many gifts as I'd like to, or spend as much on gifts as I would like to. In previous years making gifts was more of a statement than a necessity.
I absolutely hate the fact that somewhere inside I feel really guilty that I can't buy stuff this Christmas.
Are these my own personal issues, or is this a larger problem everyone is suffering from this year?


Tristan said...

I certainly think that everyone suffers from the consumerist delusion that we ought to be buying each other ridiculous amounts of shiny crud every holiday.

This is a relatively recent thing, I think, created to benefit corporations. In the past, a Christmas feast was enough of a gift for everyone in itself. This obsession with fashionable expensive objects doesn't bring anyone together. The cost of this delusion is that we burden ourselves excessively with debt, guilt and many other negative emotions. If we're ever going to move beyond consumerism to a lifestyle which is sustainable (not just environmentally, but socially-emotionally) then this is one of the first things that's got to go.

I think that it's a wonderful sentiment to want to honour and celebrate another person by giving them something you specially picked out for them. However, there is a delusion that unless we're giving whatever is currently cool or fashionable, then our intentions are somewhat less for that. In fact, I think that home made things are even more appropriate as presents, because it shows how much more effort the giver has given to the recipient.

Yes, shiny new things are nice - we like them, and they can make us feel good. So they should be the treasured exceptions in our lives. The real joy of our lives comes only from our relationships with other people - not from stuff.

Anyway, my $0.02 worth. Happy Holidays!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree Tristan. What I like most about our Christmas celebration is the atmosphere. The singing, the games, and of course the food! I don't think that all "families" celebrate like we do. But of course everyone like to think they are special........