2002.12.18 – holidays the way they should be

Holiday shopping. A time to wade through the endless sea of shoppers at your local mall and fight them off with your bags of holiday treats. A joyous time of peace and goodwill, as long as everyone on your list receives exactly (or something close to) what they asked for. Is this really what it’s all about? If this is so, then I would like a refund!

For the past three years, my fianc?e and I have attempted to cram all of our holiday shopping into the last weekend before Christmas. We have consciously decided to boycott the malls in search of an alternative shopping experience. At first the reasoning behind this stemmed from the fact that we wanted to support our local vendors. More recently, it has become almost like a quest. We wake up as far before noon as humanly possible for a day off and make our way down to Elmwood Avenue. Being the last Saturday before the holiday it is extremely busy, but a cup of coffee usually gives us the energy we need to scavenge through the shoppes.

Last year, unfortunately, we came in contact with far too many yuppie types for our liking, but we muddled on determined to find the perfect gifts for all. It becomes a sort of race to the finish, as we realize that this is the only day we have left. The last few sorry individuals on the list will most likely reap the consequences, but no matter. At least they are getting gifts, right?

Wrong! This isn’t how it should be. Christmas should be a time of joy and peace, not cutthroat buying practices. With a limited budget and an even more limited timeframe we shouldn’t give in to the commercialism. There are a multitude of reasons for not buying presents, but every year the guilt sets in and we feel the need to buy buy buy.

Well I say it is time to stop! Consider the consequences of our conspicuous consumption. Think about the sweatshops that produce those modern commercial products. Think of the needy people in this world who cannot be consumer whores. Let the world know that the true meaning of Christmas doesn’t begin and end with Santa Claus and the latest talking Elmo doll. Be conscious of these things as you shop and remember that less is definitely more!

Here are some good ideas for holiday shopping. I am going to try to follow these this Saturday when we go on our annual present hunt and maybe you should consider them too.

1 – Don’t buy something for someone just because you feel obligated.

2 – Attempt to find a gift, even if it is inexpensive, that shows the receiver how you truly feel about them.

3 – Be aware of where the items you purchase are made and, if possible, what the conditions of the workers that made them are.

4 – Stay away from malls if at all possible.

5 – Think of alternative gift giving ideas. Baking a batch of cookies for someone can sometimes make them happier than that silly paperweight that you found at the overpriced shopper hut.

6 – Support your community vendors.

7 – Give the gift of love, peace and joy. That is always better then shiny wrapping paper and a big old bow.

8 – Remember the reason for the season and act accordingly. This is important, for the true meaning of Christmas cannot be found on a shelf in any shopping emporium!

I realize that unlike myself, most of you have probably already shopped till you dropped, but if you still have some people left on your list just consider the above ideas. You will thank yourself later when you feel the love of the season now, rather than the slap of your pocketbook come January.

Have a safe and Happy Holiday and a fantastic New Year!

Peace –

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