Monday, October 26, 2009

Shut up. You're getting a chicken.

Well, not even, really. This year we've decided to forgo the traditional gifts for our adult relatives. I mean really, what could we possibly give for twenty bucks that they couldn't buy themselves, would actually like and wouldn't be immediately considered for re-gifting? I'll tell you what: nothing.

We've tried to go the handmade way before but again, it feels like our efforts aren't really as appreciated as they could be. I'm sure the coffee got drunk and the soaps used but like I said it isn't anything that they couldn't have gotten themselves. It's starting to seem like the holiday's are turning into symbolic showmanship. It's not what I want to raise my kids on.

Shopping and gift giving to stimulate the economy or fulfill overwhelming wants instead of tiny ones leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I want to give a gift because I think the person will enjoy it, to show someone I care about them, or give that little something someone's been denying themselves because they just don't really need it and not just because they're a tally mark on my shopping list.

Where went the time of school supplies, much needed clothes (or the occasional fancy dress), handmade toys from loving hands, those cherished bits of candy and the rare winter orange tucked neatly into a darned stocking? When Presence was truly Present enough? I might sound idealistic but hey, I'm an idealist I suppose.

Instead, we have mounds of presents forgotten within minutes of being opened. The joyous high of discovery lasting only until the next glitzy package is shoved under sleepy faces. Piles of wasted paper and packaging shoved unceremoniously into black plastic shrouds. Children mentally ticking off the shopping list they made from catalogs and commercials as they open their gifts. Then the crash of hyped up holiday mayhem when the weariness of "Too Much" overpowers even the most determined tot and parents are left exhausted and bewildered as to how they're going to merge all these new things into their already over crowded lives.

Do I sound like I dislike the holidays? Probably. But I really don't. I dislike what the time of now has brought to it. I feel like someone took a Rockwell and disfigured it and it makes my guts clench with it's grotesqueness. Each year around this time I start feeling like this but am clueless as to how to affect any change. While I want to tell everyone not to bother with gifts I also don't want to alienate my kids or make them feel like freaks. There is a fine line I must walk. Maybe I should just start putting money into a therapy fund.

Even if this isn't the year I figure it all out we have made a choice to donate livestock in the names of the adults in our lives. Since we're trying to become self-sufficient we thought what an awesome way to help others by donating to ? This year everyone is getting chickens donated in their names to people in third world countries. Start practicing your excited faces. Who knows? Maybe I'll start a trend in our family and next year we'll be getting those donation cards (but I would also appreciate a chicken of my own when we're on our land and my excited face wouldn't be a practiced one.)

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