Friday, December 5, 2008

A Misconception with Giving Masquerades as the Spirit of the Season

 

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.

 

Mr. Phil 

15 comments:

makemeasandwich said...

Wow this was really deep. I agree with the part of everyone included world section. It seems as if we only give to receive... that the joy of giving has some how lost its touch. As much as we all have heard about "oh the holidays are about giving and spending time with your family , oh the memories blah blah blah". In my mind I think some people get so "wrapped up" in the holiday shopping they start to believe that the season for giving, is just work. its all business.

Lance51 said...

"is more a form of manipulation of overachievers to perform costless child labor."


Love it, because its really kinda true. I basically agree with this entire thing. Just hearing what people would do to get an Xbox 360 or PS3 or something really wanted like that sickens me. I think I remember a story from last year when some grown men robbed a rid walking out of Toys'r'us of his Xbox 360. Thats just a level of wrong that should never be reached in out society, grown men robbing little kids. Thats why I'm not too much of a fan of this time of year, cause most people think Christman revlves around them and their presents, not other people.

Sidewalk Chalk said...

Agreed. I just can't help to think about the people that changed into monsters for those door busters...like the crowd that stampeded that guy to death in new york...or the blind man at NFM that got his stuff stolen out of his cart.

In what is supposed to be such a time of love and care, people are monsters.

Lola said...

Christmas is loosing its meaning of Christ's birth and is instead becoming a time where people only want presents and become greedy. We should all take a step back and think of what the holidays are really about. Be thankful you have a family and can gather as a whole because not everyone can.

curlycue said...

When you look back which presents do you remember: some random pick up from the store or one that the person spent time on and made it especially for you? I remember the second of the two.

Lucky Charms said...

I totally agree with this. I hate that no one really puts thought into gifts anymore... people go for the cheapest and the easiest, even though it means so much more when there is thought and effort put into it. As for the volunteering thing, I am in complete agreement. If you're volunteering to fulfill hours for NHS, then it's not really volunteering. To truly volunteer, you have to care about what you're doing and do it even when not required. Yes, the holidays should be a time of giving, both gifts and time, but so should the rest of the year.

bulbasaur75 said...

Bravo my friend. I quite agree with you. Humanity has sunk into a completely self deprecating trend. We are the meisers of the world here in the U.S. After all have you ever heard of other countries going on these massive sprees? And it shows worse when our own people trample Walmart employees and pregnant women because its Black Friday and we want the best deal on a toast. I mean honestly, our society makes me ashamed to be called a human at times.

darth.vader said...

I’m finding times in this bog where I agree completely…but I can’t stop thinking about your motives. Showing someone you care doesn’t always result from handmade frames or scrap-booked cards. In a day and age where, at times, sitting down to dinner takes up to much time, how do you expect these “crafts” to get done? If there is genuine intent behind these “assembly line manufactured products”, I don’t see the problem.
And about your “donating time” issues…
The requirements for Honor Society are clearly stated when you pick up the packet, and yes, community service is one of them. Yet in applying you are adhering to these requirements, you want to get in=you want to do the community service. By simply stating that this volunteering doesn’t count, is telling me that the time I spent building relationships, meeting new people, giving time to something I was truly passionate about, and experiencing life changing things simply didn’t count…really!? Thanks for clearing that up. And if you “do it because it feels great not going somewhere to count watch the clock”, then do your hours you stated mean nothing then? Were you keeping track just for fun, or do those hours truly mean you worked hard. Don’t tell me keeping track of my service isn’t right, when you just did it yourself.

Oh yea…and I agree with the last part :)

thejoker said...

I agree that the holidays arent the same, people are more concerned with gifts rather than spending time with family. I was at NFM black friday and it was ridiculous how crazy people were, the second the doors opened it was a stampede.

Bajablast said...

wow, i totally agree with makemeasandwich, that was REALLY deep! it is really true! people are so desperate to get their worldly gifts that they dont even understand what they are doing. Like the people who killed that walmart worker and didnt even stop, but needed to get the newest item out. People do soo much stuff subconsiously because that is what everyone else is doing.

dragonfly said...

I agree. i just noticed that this year seems to be all about the gifts. not the compassion or the family involved in it. This season is horrible. people are so impatient and rude. Walking a in parking lot is not safe. Everyone will run u over in thier rush to get some where. But i do think this season is when i love volunteering the most. i like to see how people feel when u help them from the good of your heart. and it is true that most students participate in volunteer just for national honor society. i know that my friends and i are trying not to get gifts for eachother. we just want to spend time together and call it our gift for christmas.

dr.cake said...

I totally agree. I also am bothered by the fact that Christmas and Black Friday are beginning to overshadow Thanksgiving. I barely got a chance to finish my pie before my family started talking about all of the sales and things we needed to buy. I think it's awesome that you are so involved in community service, I really would like to make more time to do that.

GeorgeCostanza said...

that is just so terrible, but very true on so many different levels. It is really very depressing how much the holiday season has become about "thing," rather than spending time off with family, and just giving, to give, not giving to get. personally i am disgusted.

Omega said...

Once again...the disappointments of media. Every commercial you see is about someone getting something that takes their breath away.

Like "every kiss begins with Kay..." -really?

thats what society sees and thats what society believes. Every holiday is now about what "I can get" not what the holiday truely means.

Squirtle said...

The only gifts that mean anything to me are the ones that a little thought has been put in to for sure. I actually love gifts that are given randomly - "because I thought of you immediately and I just had to get it for you" - because those gifts prove how well your friend knows and cares for you. Those are better than Christmas gifts.