The more frenetic the pace for shopping and consuming, the more I find myself retreating to a quiet corner and wondering what on earth happened to Christmas. The way we approach the holiday is getting downright ugly. When did it start revolving around triumphing over total strangers, elbows and fists waving, to grab this week's version of some technology which we lived without for most of our lives?
Every year my list gets smaller. This is not just due to attrition, finances, or meanness of spirit, but mutual caring. The friends I love best get the gift of not having to figure out what to get for us, we get the same thing, and the outcome is more time to actually enjoy the season. The problem with this, of course, is you wind up with the people on your list that you either don't know well enough or don't like well enough to explain all this to, so you keep it going for "one more year" and hope you're braver next time around.
What gifts I will get will be food or clothing related, or at least something that will be useful, and I'll buy them at locally owned businesses where the music is audible and the lighting not so garish, and where my presence will make a difference. In the time and energy I save, I will try to find a moment to stop and remember why we starting celebrating this holiday in the first place.