I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I want for Christmas. A glass casserole dish, for one. I talked to my mom about this the other day, and she got all excited.
Me: “You know, just the regular 9×13 Pyrex kind, something like that.”
Mom: “Oh! I know just the one! I saw a really pretty one in a catalog. It had flowers on it.”
And so I worry that my mother cannot be trusted with even this simple task.
The other thing I’d like is one of those super-hyped Vosges’ Mo’s Bacon Bars, which I already mentioned here. Bacon and chocolate–finally united as one. It’s a good gift item because it really isn’t something that I’d buy for myself. It’s a $7 chocolate bar, for god’s sake. But if I don’t get one from someone else, I think I might go ahead and buy one, and share it with all my friends in town who want to try it.
Other than that, there’s not really anything I want. My roommate and I already agreed not to exchange presents. I dunno, the obligation to give and receive gifts has always bothered me. As far as receiving goes, two gifts are always welcome: good food (tasty cheese, a favorite beer, various homemade dishes I’ve professed love for–it’s not hard to tell when I’m enamored with something you’ve made, I eat all the leftovers) and cash (what? I have debt). I don’t much care for gift cards. They are as big of a scam as bottled water.
And as for giving… are you really experiencing “the holiday spirit” if giving is an obligation, if you give solely because it’s what you’re supposed to do? And what are you really giving? Something that will truly delight the person who receives it, or just another bit of junk that will add to the clutter of their lives? Don’t buy me things in the name of being generous to me, when really the only person you’re being generous to is yourself! If I give you something you don’t like, and you give me something I don’t like, wouldn’t we have been better off from the start if we had each just gotten ourselves something we actually wanted? How many toys do children remember years after they were given? How many video games do you really love, and re-play over and over again? How many clothes do you own that go unworn?
Give the gift of your company and conversation. Give the gift of simplicity. Give the gift of allowing families to stay in their own homes for Christmas if they choose, instead of having to drag over-tired, cranky children all over the place. (One of my co-workers has to take his two- and four-year-old children to a total of four different Christmases.) Give the gift of “I didn’t go out and fight the Black Friday crowds for some piece of junk you didn’t even want and that I would’ve guilt-tripped you about not liking.” Give the gift of freedom from the burden of having to receive. If someone’s really in need, then yes, try to help them. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, do all that Jesus stuff. (You remember Jesus, right? The “reason for the season”?) Try to help people be happy, but recognize that happiness through consumerism is a false idol.