Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

This week I heard lots of stories at work of mammoth Christmas gatherings. It all made my head hurt. When I described our tiny celebration, just the three of us, I inevitably got that sympathetic look. Oh that’s so sad, they aren’t having a big celebration. H has to work every day until around 2pm so for A and me this holiday is all about not getting out of pajamas unless we have to.

Sorry, this is headed into a rant so if you love Christmas and all the presents, you might want to flip to a different channel right now. Last night A and I headed over to Target. We’re keeping the presents very simple this year. I was looking for something specific for H and we walked through the cooking section just to see if there any small items like a really cool peeler, that he might like. Of course A was drawn to the appliance that looked like a giant cupcake. As she opened it up we realized it was an actual electric cupcake maker (shaped like a cupcake) designed to make 6 cupcakes in no time. While she thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread, it made me mad. It exemplifies to me the waste. Who would buy this? It’s one of those stupid gifts that might be purchased for the person who has everything. If someone has everything, why try and buy them something? I looked around in Target at all the people buzzing through for presents and wondered, how many have people on their list out of obligation that they have no idea what to buy for and when they give that gift on Christmas day, the receiver gives a shrug, throws the present in a cabinet when they get home and it will never again see the light of day? In this economy, that all should stop happening but I’m afraid it isn’t. I personally don’t think Americans have been thinking hard enough about their lifestyle and making changes to preserve what’s important in these tough times. We seriously don’t need so much crap.

Kids should be learning a lesson right now about cutting back in hard times, but I’m afraid that parents instead are trying to shield them from reality. My grandfather lived with us growing up and I spent a lot of time with him. He lived through the depression. I don’t realize the impact he had on me until my husband or a friend laugh at one of the phrases I occasionally use. I once when I was very mad at A told her off and finished it with “You can stick that in your pipe and smoke it” which caused H and A to burst out laughing, completely ruining the point I was trying to make. Besides the funny phrases, he did tell me a lot about living with nothing and how spoiled people were these days (the heady 1970s). Looking back I’m so glad to have had that experience. I think Americans may be facing an economic challenge similar to the depression but we are handling it differently, our sense of entitlement getting in the way.

As Dennis Miller likes to say after his rants, “That’s my opinion, I could be wrong”. I’ll finish by saying it is a time to reflect and appreciate what is important and what we are grateful for. I do wish you all a very happy holiday.

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