Before Halloween we're already seeing ads for the lowest priced Gifts For This Holiday Season. But to tell you the truth, I don't need an ipad. I don't want a kindle, or anything designer, or a smart phone. I don't NEED stuff. I'm not a stuff person. I already have a lot of stuff.
The other day, at Trader Joes in Darien, I saw a homeless family by the exit. It was uncomfortable and haunting and sad and utterly heartbreaking. By the time I left, they were gone, which made me sadder. Who am I to spend money on dinner out, on a new sweater I don't really need, or a 6 pack of beer, when there are people out there who really need things? Little kids without food or coats. Who am I, to go to a nicer restaurant when there are people in this very city, with nothing? Seeing them was literally enough to make me want to boycott Christmas....The gift part...and focus on the love, the message and the real meaning.
And you know what? It doesn't take much at all to give these people a hand. Donating to the food bank, coats, clothes, time, a little money.
I really don't need excess in my life. A smartphone or an iPad or something similarly techy is kinda nifty, sure. But do I want one? Nah. Not particularly. I like practical. I'm in a position in my life right now where I'm making a little extra money. But that little bit is making an impact on our lives. It's nice Matt and I can go out for dinner (like the Diner, or the very loved Sierra Grille, where you can get a filling and delicious dinner). But I can also donate to Cup of Joe For a Joe; one of my favorite Military charities. I can buy food for the food bank or donate actual money to the Salvation Army or to the Red Cross. In light of the disaster in the Philippians, we really need to re-evaluate our priorities. $30 for a Furby or $10 to the Red Cross?
I'm not posting this to make you feel guilty.......I'm just asking, wouldn't you want to help others? If Matt and I decided against gift giving and donate that money somewhere really worth while, I think we'd both be really happy and grateful. Sure, we'd still exchange stockings full of candy,but Christmas would hold so much more meaning for us. I'm just in a better place right now, and I can actually do a little better in the world. "You can't change the world, but you can make a dent."- Death to Smootchy and.....
Why can't we decide to be better people?
I'm very grateful to discover a sort of spirituality with my husband. Where we can have a discussion about the Bible and our faith. I went to an All Girls Catholic High School..... as a girl who went to a congregational church. I was NOT raised catholic. We actually believed all are welcome. And in those four years, I wasn't exactly on great terms with God. I was confused and annoyed. I was annoyed at their cult-like behavior of Mass (no offense, Catholics, but through my eyes, these nuns were insane). I was angry at the nuns' actions and words, their distaste for me and so many other girls. I hated the Religion Classes where EVERYTHING was wrong. Anything other than being a Scared Catholic was WRONG. Homosexuality, abortion and divorce were terrible, hellish, sinful, unforgivable things. I hated them for their lies, because I truly believed in a God that probably wouldn't condone something you did, but would probably scold you and love you anyway. God is not going to hate you for being gay. God wont hate you for having an abortion. God wont hate you for getting a divorce. I really believe God does not hate. I sort of found my way back when I met Matt. Because the circumstances under which we met were nothing but fate. I still can't believe my good fortune.
Anyway, there's so much extravagance in Christmas now. I love that my mother in law sends us homemade candy at Christmas.
Do you know how many commercials I've seen for Black Friday Sales and Thanksgiving sales while writing this? In the hour I've sat here, 2 out of every 4 commercials were Black Friday Sales related. It's sad and I really don't want to fall for it anymore. Forget the 3 AM Black Friday sales to buy that Play Station 4 or latest Tablet. Trust me, your 4 year old doesn't need it.