When in Rome, right? Or should I say, when in the thick of the holiday season…
As a result, I’m going to address the thousand pound gorilla in a Santa suit that usurps the attention of all other matters this time of year. Yes, folks… it’s the holiday season. Sure, you may be a product of the Judeo-Christian system, or you’re a Pagan that wants your co-opted Yule back, or you’re having your annual Mawlid an-Nabī argument about what day is really Muhammad’s birthday, or you’re a proud secularist who is proclaiming exile from all festivities that smack of religious orientation. However for none except the Christopher McCandlesses of our society there is no escape from the Alcatraz of in-your-faceness that pins your eyes open in A Clockwork Orangeesque style compelling us to involuntarily gaze upon the ubiquity of the season that ’tis.
Let’s not pretend that we haven’t heard the chants of the lighter-than-gravity love and light police that insist that the holidays have become too commercially driven, too much about consumerism, too focused about stuffing our stuff with stuff. I myself have this compulsion to go caroling with these types singing a chorus of “Oh Avarice” at every door which stands behind a portcullis of FedEx and UPS boxes. So in an attempt to sidestep that compulsion while melting in the satisfaction of having taken a sheet of 80 grit sandpaper to that proverbial itch, I’m going to try putting it in a form of a challenge:
How many of us are concerned that giving just one gift to a recipient is tantamount to a slap in the face? How many of us going for a gift that reaches Defcon Spectacular, serving to widen our loved-one’s eyes to the level of cosmetically overworked Hollywood star? Let’s be honest, is it really about the recipient or is it about the flashy neon arrows that we get pointing to us, with our name on the marquis of “Best Christmas Ever” starring Yours Truly?
Let’s try this: Let’s see if we can come up with a gift that can in no way be purchased in order to be presented. The challenge here is not necessarily to toss a cup of water on the forest fire of consumerism; the challenge is to show ourselves that our own personal value is greater than a line item on a VISA statement. The biggest crime with the “stuff” giving paradigm of the holiday season is that we are led to feel inadequate if we can’t provide that certain someone with that certain something.
The challenge is designed to encourage us to find within ourselves our value, one that doesn’t need to be indicated with a pricing gun. If we feel we can offer nothing more than what we can simply purchase, then whatever we end up purchasing will merely contain the amount of love as the Shenzhen factory worker put into it. I believe the intent of this season is for us to shine a light on the joy that resides within each other. We do so by finding the greatest parts of who we are as people and utilizing those parts by giving of ourselves the gifts we were born with rather than the gifts that can be described as “it”.
Anyone with enough good credit can buy a certain something, one that will invariably lose its luster in the blinding light of the next holiday’s trinket. Thing 2 of this season will kill Thing 1 of Christmas past and take its place as the Best Gift Ever while Thing 3 hides amongst the packed away nativity scene laying in wait to make his move next Christmas. Truly the gifts that mean the most to our loved ones are the gifts that we end up taking with us when we are gone.