The Holiday Anti-Gift Guide

12.04.2017

This year, let's give Santa a break, shall we? I think he deserves it.

Because STUFF.

So.
Much.
Stuff.

Did you know that this year was the most successful Black Friday in the history of ever? Not sure the actual number, but it's in the multi-billions. Did you also know that this year, charitable giving was down from last years numbers?

Huh.

Funny how that works.

Look. I'm not against stuff in general. I have stuff, too much of it, and it's always a constant struggle with me to stop buying all the useless, meaningless stuff. And for the most part, 80% of it really, truly, honestly is useless, meaningless stuff. The older I get, the more aware I am about my consumption of stuff. And if we're being honest, it makes me sick.

I won't link to the photos of starving children in third world countries, but I'm sure you've seen the photos I'm talking about. The ones where emaciated, skeletal, literally starving children are reaching out for a clean glass of water. And here in America, obesity is one of the leading causes of death.

In other countries, starvation is a leading cause of death. And here in America, eating too much is a leading cause of death. Let that sink in.

And yet, people cuss at, run over, stampede past, shove, hit, kick and literally kill other humans for a discounted TV on Black Friday.

It's repulsive.

I've fallen prey to this scheme in the past. I remember many Christmases feeling anxious, stressed and financially strapped from all the gifts (stuff) I "had" to buy. I distinctly remember the weight I felt from thinking about everyone I had to buy for, making sure it was a good enough gift and like what if she is buying something for me and I don't buy something for her, how embarrassing would that be! But why? Why should Christmas be a time where things like stress and apprehension are incorporated? In true literally meaning, Christmas was created and was always intended to be anything but stress and apprehension.

Yet go online and google "Black Friday" and tell me how in the world you can look at those photos and not feel anything but stress and apprehension.

And total, utter disgust.

We changed up a rule in our family a few years back. No gift giving of any kind to adults. I have a large family, and in the past, I would buy gifts for my mom, dad, sister, other sister, cousins, friends, etc. I was buying something just to buy something. And I was buying it because I knew they were buying me something. When in all honestly, neither them, nor I, needed anything. I know here is where some might say, "but I love giving and getting for everyone I know, and if it makes me happy and I can afford it, why not?" Fair. I would just hope that if you can afford to buy your second aunt Susie a scarf with miniature dogs on it that she will wear maybe once, you are matching that with a gift for a child in need who will remember getting a present at Christmas for the rest of their lives.

And I'm not talking about the kids here. Like I said earlier, my family has decided to forgo adult gift giving, since all of us need absolutely nothing. But when it comes to kids, I understand the novelty of gifts. Although I will admit I have drastically and I mean drastically cut down on how many gifts my kids get for Christmas, I get that it is part of the magic of Christmas for children. The tree, the lights, the gifts underneath...I get it. I was a kid once, and I get it. I am being much more mindful of what they do get, however, because when I asked my kids the other day, "what was your favorite gift that you got last year?" neither one of them could remember. And that to me just isn't ok.

Speaking of  kids and gifts: this next part might offend quite a few, and frankly, I don't care. Because let me tell you what offends me.

Every Christmas season, I scroll through my social media feeds and see photo after photo of Christmas trees with copious (and I mean OVERFLOWING) amounts of presents underneath with various captions such as, "kid's gifts are ready for them! They will be so excited!" or "my kids are so spoiled!" or "I am so happy to give all this to my kids for Christmas!"

And I get it, you are excited and proud to show off that your precious offspring get ten! presents! each! I get it. You are showing off. You might not know it, and you might honestly not even realize that you are doing it...but it is in such poor taste and so crass that I have no idea how it isn't inherently obvious what you are portraying.

You know what I see when I come across those posts? I see the kid who scrolls down and sees your post. I see his face fall, because why doesn't he have that many presents under the tree? Why don't his parents love him enough to buy him so much stuff. I see the middle schooler who has always lived a down-and-out life, and I see her wondering why she doesn't have a single gift under the non-existent tree. I see the high schooler who has been bounced around home to home, never even owning a personal piece of property, yet he sees the lavishness your precious four year old gets just for being born.

I see the single mother who scrolls down and sees your post. A mother who works three jobs to take care of her children, who worked so many extra hours and lost precious time with her children just so they would have one single gift under the tree. I see that mother looking at your post, and feeling so discouraged that she isn't enough and can't provide enough.

I get that the people who post these kinds of posts probably aren't doing so with the intent to make poor children and exhausted single mothers feel bad. I obviously get that. But I then have to chalk it up to ignorance, because it's so flamboyant and braggadocious and yes, offensive. Buy your children everything under the sun that they want, if you must, but please be mindful of posting such opulence and how it comes across to others less fortunate.

Ok. That said! Let's progress on to the main part of this post...The Holiday Anti-Gift Guide!

Looking for ideas of what to give/do this holiday season that helps others and will make your heart full? You have come to the right place!

• Give. Obviously, this is a given. Just give. To local homeless shelters, food banks, Angel Trees, pregnancy centers, toy drives, your down-and-out neighbor next door, anyone or any charity that needs help. Giving without expecting anything in return is an incredible feeling.

• Be considerate. We all know the rush of the holidays can make people a bit frazzled. Hold open doors for others, leave a generous tip for your waiter, don't honk angrily when you get cut off in traffic, be patient if someone in line in front of you is taking a bit too long for your liking. The holidays have a way of bringing out the worst in people, and by relaxing and being mindful of our own attitude, maybe we can help someone else see that the true meaning of Christmas is love and kindness. A random act of kindness will never be in vain.

• Buy books for strangers. Books can change lives. (ain't that the truth. via this post)

• Get your kids involved. Take your kids with you to pick up trash and litter. Take them with you to a soup kitchen and have them participate in helping out. Take them to an animal shelter and let them snuggle on and hug on the animals there. Have them send holiday cards to soldiers. It is our job as parents to make sure our children know full well that this world does not owe them anything, and they will get what they put in.

• Love. Yeah, it may seem sweeping and all-encompassing, but...isn't it though? Shouldn't it be?

Merry Christmas friends.

2 comments:

  1. lOVE THIS!!! glad your back to blogging. I started back up again last week!

    ReplyDelete

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