It’s that time of year…that special time between (American) Thanksgiving and New Year’s. When the sounds of ringing cash registers and clicks on a keyboard add up to big money for retailers.
I’m not necessarily opposed to it either. I suppose I should be. Crass consumerism is not a pretty thing. As a middle-class American, I know I have way too much crap by any standard. Plus, I do understand, and abhor, how the aforementioned “crap” got to the stores. It came by way a factory in (most-likely) Asia, where the workers were not paid well in conditions that were by any stretch of the imagination abominable. I know that most likely the workers are young, skewed towards the uneducated, and whose needs are too likely to be overlooked by management.
On the hand…oh look shiny thing over there — I want that new shiny thing. And I can kinda afford the pretty thing over there and quasi-justify it. Thus, my intellectual indignation usually takes a momentary backseat to impulse of the moment.
So if at 38 I have this problem, imagine the problem I have with having a Little Dude (the offspring) who is all of 5. Plus, Little Dude is fortunate enough to have family and friends to buy stuff for him, cause they love him and think he’s swell (or so they reassure me), and he shows the proper child-like enthusiasm for toys and books; Big Dude (aka the spousal unit/Dad) and I did that right (so far).
I’m not immune, is what I’m saying, to the impulse of “Give Me More”; I get where Little Dude is coming from. So, in my shopping today I wanted to go with “Give Meaningful”. But what does that mean? What does that mean for a kid? Do I give a few toys but only ones that the child wants? Well, no because no holiday (I think) should be a checklist. Then we’re raising a generations of Veruca Salts.
And if we go off a checklist, then where’s the wonder? The surprise of finding that unexpected fun item that you weren’t expecting? No, it’s not. Often when adults talking about giving a “meaningful” gift we talking about giving to charity or giving the gift of time.
I love giving charity and spending oodles of time with my family — both individually and separately. But let’s be honest, that’s not what a 5 year old wants to unwrap. “Hi honey, here’s a donation in your name to Business Executives for National Security (real charity) and by the by we’ve donated your stuff. Merry Christmas!”
I can tell you now…that wouldn’t fly. On so many levels.
So today it was back and forth between “Give Me More” vs “Give Meaningful”. And lead to “I Give Up”.
Merry effin’ Christmas, pass the eggnog. When is it New Year’s again?
We actually do go through and make donations every year with Little Dude – here’s some of the places we’ve donated. I’m sure Business Executives for National Security are nice folks but not really 5 year old friendly. Here’s where Little Dude, Big Dude and/or I have picked in the past (for our meager donations – monetary or physical donations):