Sunday, December 6, 2009

Gift giving beyond the holidays

Once again the holiday season has encroached upon us. But despite the smell of a fresh Christmas tree in the lobby of the building I work in, bells ringing above red kettles on street corners and an increasing number of twinkling lights in my neighborhood, I am yet to feel merry. The truth is I loath the holidays. I don't like to decorate, hate shopping, and still have no idea what figgy pudding is. I also don't like senseless gift giving. This is the practice that brought us The Clapper and the Barrack Obama Chia Pet.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I don't like to give, I'd just much rather give meaningful gifts, year round, and when they are unexpected. I suppose in some ways this attitude can be blamed on my time at Burning Man. As I've mentioned before, it's a gift giving society. When we encounter someone that needs something we can give, we do. And we think ahead. Every time I go into Wallgreen's to buy a $1.99 beanie cap, I buy two, so I can give one away. I do the same thing when I get a roll to eat on my way to work in the morning.

Random acts of kindness and giving gifts should not be something we do once a year. Furthermore celebrating such a beautiful thing by giving meaningless crap to those who don't need it is a disgrace to the practice. So please, give gifts that matter. Give gifts with meaning. Give gifts to those who need them, and give gifts year round. We don't need fat guys in red suits to remind us to do this.

No comments: