I’m slaving over a hot oven as I write this. (Yeah, uber geek to have a computer in the kitchen). But I’ve spent the day making the ONE thing I can successfully cook—I make pretty darn good chocolate chip cookies.
This year (as well as last) has been hard on the pocketbook. I can’t justify going (further) into debt to buy stuff for my loved ones. I guess part of that stems from the fact that I’ve been helping multiple friends “downsize” their stuff—not necessarily by their choice. So I’m currently very aware of stuff.
Therefore, I’m making cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. (I was going to quit with the last batch because I’m getting a little tired and cranky, but I managed to dump twice the amount of sugar into the batter, so I had to make a double batch.)
Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about Christmas today. I must admit that part of me feels like a cheapskate because I’m not buying things. I think our culture has been brainwashed that we must give a physical, something-to-open present; that it’s unacceptable to give just love and warm wishes. I do believe it is better to give than receive, but I also doubt that (Name Your Religion of Choice) would advocate going into debt for a trinket most of us don’t need.
Last night I saw a dear friend who’s lost her job, her home and her health in the past year. I tucked a little cash into her purse when she wasn’t looking so she could gas up her old car. She needed that more than any do-dad I could have bought at the mall. Yet she would have refused it as a gift.
My new gift-giving philosophy is easy. If it’s something you truly need and it's something I can afford or provide, that’s what you’ll get. No more presents for the sake of giving a present. Last year I gave to a friend coupons for free dog walks, which was something she’d been paying me to do. She loved them. One year I made donations in family members’ names to charities I thought they’d approve of. (Yeah, that was a total flop with the younger set, but I thought 12 was old enough to appreciate the idea. I was wrong). My other friends and family received edibles and lots of love.
So my present to you? I wish you a very Merry Christmas that’s full of the stuff that’s really important. A big helping of love. And a side dish of gratitude. And, if you’re on my list, cookies.