good grief!

image via kenlevine.blogspot.com

(just so you know, i haven’t completely dropped from #reverb10, i just haven’t liked the last few prompts.  once one pops up that i like, i’ll blog about it).

i watched a charlie brown christmas for what has to be the 20th time last night.  that’s the real start of the holiday season for me.  who cares about the shopping, or the decorations, or the carols (good GOD, do i have to hear some schmaltzy version of “silent night” again?! someone shoot me now.)  there’s a reason that special has been around for over forty years.  i just wish that the small children who watch it (and most of the adults, too!) would pay more attention to its message.

you know the story: charlie brown gets depressed about the increased commercialism and secularism of christmas.  in steps linus to save the day and remind him, and rest of the peanuts gang, what the holiday is really all about.

i wrote about this in a previous post, so i can, on one level, understand the retail push to shove christmas and christmas deals down our throats.  the economy sucks big fat floppy donkey dick right now, and any extra pennies we can funnel back into it are greatly appreciated.  but you’ve got generations growing up thinking that all christmas means is presents, presents, and more presents.

last year, my dad made a donation to kiva in my name.  it wasn’t much, but that small amount helped an entrepreneur in ecuador expand his little  handy mart.  this year, i’ll be doing the same thing.  rather than getting the BF an actual present, i’ll be making a donation to a music education organization in his name.  one of my favorite presents is the annual renewal of my SIFF membership.  my parents pay for the renewal, SIFF gets funds to keep up their programming, and i get discounts to the festival and free preview screenings.  everybody wins!

if i were to go all introspective here, i could easily tell you why i personally haven’t shifted from the whole buying and receiving presents gig: i’m a penny pincher.  the stuff i ask for for christmas are items i want, but don’t want to spend the money on.  sometimes, these are big items (like a new comforter).  other times, they’re small, like a book that i’m sorta kinda wanting to read but don’t want to buy.  the BF and i have gotten into the habit of only buying the things we need, rather than want.  well, at least he has.  and sometimes even if he needs it he won’t buy it, so i end up buying it for him.  me, i still can’t resist a new pair of shoes.  or a sweater.  or earrings.  or…well, you get the idea.  i have a bit of a spending problem sometimes.

the other thing that bothers me is that this is the time of year when all the non-profits and charities come out with their big “donate now!” spiel.  why should i only want to donate money or time during the holidays?  is there something wrong with the other 11 months of the year?  is volunteering in say, march, a bad thing?  will the bad karma angel come and bite me on the ass for it?  yeah, i didn’t think so.

but, just like a myriad of other problems with this country, our collective society will continue to buy and children will continue to throw temper tantrums when they don’t get the new expensive toy that all of the other kids will be getting.  really, we’re all a bunch of sheep.  baaa!

so i guess i can add one more birthday goal to the list: make an effort to donate time and/or money to an organization that needs it.  we’ll see if i succeed.

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