Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Past Deadline: No Dust for Christmas

In a month it will be Christmas.

For so many reasons I won’t be ready. As usual. This year, in addition to just falling behind in general, it appears likely I will also be hopelessly lost when it comes to knowing the Latest Trends in Christmas Gifts™.

One night last week Groom-boy went to great pains to explain to me he would be later getting home because a certain store was having a door-crasher special or whatever that would get us a sweet deal on a thingy that Girlchild was wanting if he showed up at precisely a certain time.

“A what?” I asked dimly.

He repeated the name of the thingy, which I won’t repeat here because a) she can read now and b) I can’t remember it anyway.

“Oh yeah,” I said distractedly. “And what is that again?”

He explained what the thingy does, which then rang vague bells as something she wants.

A few days after the secret caper, Groom-boy said something to me about the toy. I looked at him blankly before the hamster in that part of my brain finally kicked in and the creaky wheels began to grind into life.

Oh, the details to remember.

Years ago, when watching TV, Girlchild would say “I’m so getting that!” every time a commercial tickled her fancy. It became a big joke around our house. Now things are a little more calculated/negotiated on our kids’ parts, but there are still an awful lot of coveted items.

You know, our grandparents used to be happy about getting oranges for Christmas.

These days it seems as if we are made to feel that if we don’t go into debt for Christmas then we are personally responsible for sending the world economy to the brink.

Our kids – and we – have too much stuff. Getting stuff isn’t even meaningful a lot of the time. Even though, technically, we only have ourselves to blame for that, it’s a hard thing to prevent in a world driven by consumerism.

These are heavy thoughts to be thinking at a time when we are supposed to be infused with the spirit of giving, which so often translates into the spirit of spending. Three cheers for the economy – hip, hip, cha-ching!

Groom-boy said that as he waited to get Girlchild’s thingy, he and the other patrons joked about how they had become “those parents” – the ones who stand in long lines to get their kids the latest most fabulous thingy that only costs a few dollars more at the store down the street and that will probably be gathering dust in a few months anyway.

People, dust is a terrible thing and must be stopped.

Also terrible is this constant desire for stuff brought on by the brainwashing from the Holy Church of Consumerism. Even though they don’t get something every time we go to a store, our kids seem to think they should. They definitely have received things at more frequent and random intervals than I ever did as a child. In those days Christmas and birthdays were the principle toy-getting times.

Teaching our kids they have to earn an allowance to have money to buy things on their own has helped a little, but there is still this “need” for stuff.

I’m set to go all Role Model™ this Christmas. I don’t particularly need or want anything this year, so I think I will encourage gifts to charity instead or maybe giving something from the heart, such as cookies made from scratch or a craft that took some time to create. I’m not sure how long it will take to get the message across – maybe years? But it’s a start.

And this is not an entirely selfless act, anyway. After all, when you accumulate stuff you have to dust it, and that is something at which I do not excel. So less dusting is a fine gift.

I’m not saying some of the latest in thingies won’t be showing up under our tree this year because that would be really hard to process for certain people, but I definitely don’t mind being an example.

Sorry, economy. Not sorry, dust.

Published in The Perth Courier, Nov. 24/11

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