After finishing our thanksgiving meal many people went out to buy gift from the department stores with amazing door busters. I admit I was one in the crowd but there I am not a big fan of the holidays. I have just only started to realize the how bad this time of year is and how it brings out the worst in so many people. Being showered with gifts, kids grow up expecting them to come larger and in greater numbers as each year passes. A the while the parent enable this behavior by buying into it in the most literal sense. On Saturday morning while shopping in Kohl's I couldn't help but overhear a family glad to have found a gift for their grandparents that was cheap and would appease them. What has the holidays come to?
Is it necessary for me to give everyone I know a gift to ensure peace in my social circle? I would love to be able to say that I could give gifts to only the people I found special to me but it is not feasible in the include-everyone-world we live in today, where it is necessary to hand out consolation prizes and participation ribbons. The fact that our society accepts the marketing ploy of assigning a certain time of year to plunge into their pockets and purchase, purchase, purchase is insane. Is that truly the spirit of giving is the thought behind a gift not to let someone know that you care. I have found that there are much better ways to show someone you care than purchasing the one of millions, assembly line manufactured products. I have found that some of my favorite gifts are personal photographs handwritten, or handmade cards. This is not because I am one for the sentimental but these gifts represent the genuine care of someone else. Whether it is a paint ball gun to some one who plays paint ball of a piano book to a suffering musician, gift that reveal support and compassion are the best gifts to receive.
The second problem with the giving of this season is the fact that it is contained to just this season. Have you ever tried to give someone a gift on any day other than their birthday of Christmas? Well, I have and most will not accept it yet other fear to in dread of being the butt of yet another prank for the umpteenth time. The fact that we contain and save up our generosity for a period of the year sickens me. What is wrong with helping a friend out when they need it or doing a little charity when it is unexpected or not required? Many of the students at our school have no grasp of what donating time really is; I have run across a few, but on the most students do community service to fulfill the Honor Society requirements which in my mind is not a form of volunteering and is more a form of manipulation of overachievers to perform costless child labor.
In the last three weeks I have committed 23 hours to varying efforts regarding charities. I don't need the hours; I have 220 hours since the beginning of this past summer. I do it because it feels great not going somewhere to count watch the clock rather to get into what you are doing and know that I did not require repayment. That is real giving, the kind that in no way expects to receive. I don't mean for you to go out and work yourself to the bone for something you do not believe. Instead find a cause you can consistently get involved in and have a personal connection to, that is when you will enjoy donating you time. Volunteering and gift giving should be all year enjoyable experiences. All I am saying is, take a step back this season and ask yourself why, compulsion or compassion?
Happy Holidays! May yours break all kinds of traditions.