Everyone I know, it seems, is rethinking the holiday this year. We're either: a) sick to death of the nonstop holiday tunes and tv specials; b) a little scared to shop after viewing ads imploring us to "Stop at Nothing!" (does this include violence?) to make sure we get the I Can Play Guitar thing before someone snatches it out from under us; or c) we're more aware of the bad stuff that's going on in the world. War, starvation, injustice, the effect of global warming on penguins, power outages and natural disasters will dampen even the hardiest holiday spirit.
Have we Al Gore to thank for this Blue Christmas? Maybe. We're completely cutting out purchasing unnecessary stuff for people who don't really need it. We're examining the pedigree of each item: where were you made? How much oil did it take to produce/transport/package you? Will I be taking advantage of some poor soul's socio-economic status by purchasing you? If you don't fit the guidelines, you can just stay on the shelf!
We're aghast at the piles of wrapping paper we wasted each year. We always knew it was bad, so naturally, we recycled as much as possible . . . but show me a half-price sale the week after Christmas and I was a wrapping paper stocking up fool, trees be damned! And now? Never again will I buy a roll of wrap when there is plenty of shipping box stuffing paper and yesterday's newspaper lying around! I should be getting carbon credits for this.
We've done all the shopping we're going to do. I bought a few books for some friends and family, and a painting for our godson. Gift bags (reusable, natch) for each of our employees. Practical items like grocery store gift certificates have replaced tchotchkes and silly stocking stuffers.
No Stuff on My Cat calendars. No bendable Oscar Wilde figurines. No Clickit magnets.
There is no tree in our living room, no lights on our porch railing. Yet. I may still be compelled to decorate a bit. But, as one of our favorite servers at our brewpub said, "You don't have to cut a tree down to feel good about yourself."
On Christmas, we'll invite our friends and nearby family (now that we have some) over to relax and enjoy some good food and even better beer and wine. We'll play games. We'll talk about ways to celebrate our friendships and the ties that bind us throughout the entire year, and we'll each define the season in our own way.
We'll look with hope to the new year, and we'll all feel good about the complete lack of wrapping paper in the recycle bin. If only it could save the penguins.
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