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Friday, December 21, 2007

Pre-Christmas Reflections



First, the headline of the day: "Roofing magnate dies in fall from roof". Seriously. It is sad, but raise your hand if you're surprised. Read the full story here.

Moving on, now that there's 3 shopping days until Christmas, I need to get out there and start supporting the Chinese economy, through the purchase of trinkety crap. Like this ugly men's necklace for $150, or these $50 LCD camera/binoculars. Not to be a Grumple or anything, but there's so much stuff that gets given and received at Christmas that everybody could probably do without. Not that I'm going to boycott; it just seems that there's a good portion of stuff around that you see and say, "Huh. I never would have thought of owning such a thing. But now that I have it, and it was given with love from a dear friend, I don't want to part with it." And hence, garbage accumulates, and the Christmas Spirit lives on.

But even more seriously, I can't wait for Simon to get a couple years older, so he can get excited about Christmas, and I can give him stuff. Is that so wrong?

1 comment:

Tim said...

No, not wrong. There's emotional value to giving something to another person (whether it be tangible or not) and basking in the glow of their appreciation. The positive receipt of the gift is an important part of the process, so we understandably want to make sure that our gifts are received favorably. Which is why fruitcake and invasions of foreign countries have fallen out of style as gifts.

The difficult part of gift-giving in our modern life is understanding this value against the very loud background of commercial pressure to give as many, and as expensive, gifts as we're capable.

So in my opinion, by all means, you are entitled to enjoy the gift-giving ritual with your son. Not being a parent myself, I can only reference the scene in A Christmas Story where Ralphie receives his Red Rider BB Rifle from The Old Man as proof that delighting your child with a dearly desired Christmas present is one of the highlights of fatherhood.

On a side note, I'm trying very hard lately not to "ask" for presents (a habit no doubt encouraged in this country by department store Santa Clauses) and not to ask other people what they want. As an adult with a good job, I can buy most anything I can expect my friends and family to give to me. What I look for in a gift is that the giver, including myself, has considered the receiver's needs, wants, and personality. "What will truly delight this person?" and thus encite the reaction that is the ultimate goal of the ritual. That will be my guide. Buying from a list robs gifts of some of their mystery, and thus diminishes the reaction, and overfull lists encourages the waste and commercialism that has tarnished Christmas.

Happy Holidays!