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No Buy Christmas

December 22, 2005

We’re headed to Grandmother’s house, via the river and the woods. With a trunk chock full of tools, and with nary a present to be found.

I’ve done Christmas many ways. In my natural state, with a kind of measured stinginess. Which isn’t to say that I was cheap, just very mindful of costs and other considerations. In my married state, and under the influence of the wonderful wife, I’ve done a few Free Christmases. Which isn’t to say that they were free– quite the contrary. They were nearly free from concern about costs and other kinds of such sensibilities. We bought what we wanted others to have, and just gave it to them. We did our best to be as generous as we could, and let the chips fall where they might. And, we’ve of course done a few Christmases around the middle of this spectrum.

But this year, things are different. I suppose I’m worried about financial burdens on the horizon, but more than anything, I’m just plain weary of the whole commercial mess. Of the stress and traffic and urgency of it all. Of the burden put on the rank-and-file of retail to deal with the abuse and anger of the rest of us. Of Christians shaking their fists and demanding a closer name recognition between “Christ” and this self-indulgent celebration of aquisition, greed, consumerism, and free-market economics (and it’s attendant economic oppression).

Scrooge, you say? No doubt. I’m a mess. This year, I’d like to check ‘conscientious objector’ on the Christmas registry and just hang out with people. But with three shopping days left until Christmas, we’ll just have to wait and see how this story ends. Hopefully, I won’t let myself sit in a corner and sulk. We’ll no doubt give some gifts, especially to the niece and nephews, who should be spared Uncle Mike’s bitterness. I’ll be watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Christmas Story” and drinking eggnogg. And that trunk full of tools comes with my intention to work on any family member’s house who’ll have me.

And while I work, I’ll be singing ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’. Before, during, and after December 25. Because I need to be saved from myself.

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7 Responses to “No Buy Christmas”

  1. rawbbie says:

    I wish I had the courage to abbandon gifts, and the skillz to work on houses instead.

  2. sonja says:

    After Christmas, when the “gift” has been revealed, I can tell the absolutely embarassing Grinchy tale of purchasing LightHusband’s gift from his son this afternoon. Yeah … I’m pretty close to shutting down myself.

  3. Rebecca says:

    You can be uber cheap and bake cookies for the whole world like we did. It was fun. Sure it won’t be the greatest moment of thrill of a lifetime for the recievers when they open the package but my family doesn’t care and neither do I. Next year I’ll probably buy some gifts again but we couldn’t do it this year and I feel no remorse over my no-buy Christmas this year. My sister-in-laws will have fun fighting over the stack of earrings I made for them all (they are always asking me to make them more). I know it’s REALLY old fashioned of me to think this stuff is ok to give in a day when we are told a minimum amount to spend on a gift if we love someone, but I guess my wierd-pioneer-wannabe-mom has had some influence on me in the gifting department. One day we’ll go back to giving awesome gifts like we used to, but for right now – we’re being old fashioned. It’s fun for now.

  4. sonja says:

    And yet … here’s another perspective on the whole thing. I’ve been reading this guy’s blog for a while. I’m not sure what to make of him. But this seemed worth sharing: http://dualravens.com/presentmatters/?p=881 He’s an interesting character … reads a LOT of the ancient contemplatives and Desert Fathers. One day he posted a video of coyotes howling outside his house at 3 a.m. Interesting guy.

  5. kate says:

    Are you kidding, Becky? You don’t honestly think someone would value something you bought over something you made. NO WAY.
    And, I dare say, that goes for anyone. Most of what will be traded around our house this Sunday is gift cards. Whoopee. Nothing says “I care!” like a pile of cash in a more limiting form.
    I love the idea of not having bought any gifts three days before Christmas. And, I’m always amused at “grumpy Mike” posts. Because I cannot, will not ever, be able to picture Mike in any sort of grumpy mood at all.
    But, okay. Buy Lily something. :) She’s still of an age where she won’t know how much it cost, and won’t care. So it’s still fun.

  6. timthewelsh says:

    You’re in good company, Professor.

    Bah, humbug – and God bless everyone! (erm… that was pure plagerism – soz).

  7. WMS says:

    grinch? grouch? I think not. :) Carry on Mike, carry on. I’m doing the same thing (even without impending twins!)

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