If you turned your television on at any time yesterday - November 1st - then you have been fairly warned that it that wonderful time of year to begin wasting your hard earned money and to be relentlessly bombarded with everything that has nothing to do with Christmas.
Our neighbors had their Christmas lights on Halloween night (complete with a sign advertising the business that did the decorating for them).
I am sad to report that outside of seeing family and friends and singing carols (in December) I dread just about all of it. There is nothing that remains of the wonder of Christmas except a Christmas Eve service to say - here is the mystery - come in and quiet your soul - remember.
The art of giving has been shredded into unrecognizable pieces - most shaped in the form of a small plastic rectangle. It's the thinking of something unique that wears me out! No one I know needs a shirt, or a bathrobe or a scarf. If they did, they would just hop on over to Target and buy one for $5.95. As a teenager and young adult I always gave homemade gifts- a painting, a crocheted afghan, a cross-stitch pillow, a hand-knit scarf. Not only are handcrafted gifts not in vogue - now they will just make you look cheap. (Where's my $100 itunes gift card?)
At Christmas time (again, in December) I will celebrate and treasure the birth of Jesus and the symbolism of giving gifts as God has given to us . Don't get me wrong. I want to give. Strangers I don't know need food, and shelter, and their children need toys - there are always causes to give to. But what do my loved ones need or even want? If I asked my parents I know all they would ask for would be more of my time, more hugs, more laughing together. My husband might want me to give more of myself too (you can take that how ever you want to). Those things I can do - but I still have to buy them a freakin' present . . . . don't I?