Holiday Letter To All Our Relatives and Friends and Readers:
It has been just over a year since we moved to New Mexico, and what a year! Besides being an adjustment, (heat, rattlesnakes, garden challenges, lack of Italian bread) it has been filled with many blessings: good neighbors, wonderful friends, friendly New Mexicans, cultural diversity, spectacular scenery, and a Park Ranger!
Despite those blessings, as many of you know, Christmas is not my thing.
I won’t go into all the why’s and how’s about my feelings about Christmas. Suffice it to say that I have come to dislike both the way this religious holiday has been appropriated by the consumer-driven retailers and how many so-called Christians have become so un-Christian in their attitudes toward others as to make celebrating the birth of Jesus seem rather hypocritical.
And in all honesty, I let December sneak up on me and before I know it, I am scrambling to send out greeting cards and get stocking stuffers for Leon and Benni and feeling stressed and resentful.
As for actual gifts? Forget it. I am the world’s worst consumer and a most incompetent gift-giver.
I go around KMart or Target (or Amazon) and talk myself out of every possible purchase - and not only in December: clothes - what size, color, style, too personal, too expensive; that electronic gadget - too complicated and one more thing requiring a username and password; cookies, candy - too many preservatives and too much sugar; a DVD - but do they have Blue-ray? or perhaps they’ve seen it; a hat, a scarf, gloves - how terribly practical and unimaginative; a bottle of wine - ho hum; a basket of fruit and cheese or flowers - is it really the thought that counts? a small appliance - does anyone not have a coffee maker? and that espresso machine is $459, yikes, my entire budget for this year and next!
Does anyone really need anymore crap? I know I don’t. There is little if anything I desire myself and I feel that giving other people crap they don't need or want is wasteful and just adds to the landfill.
And for the most part it’s all just a whole lot of Chinese plastic shipped here on freighters and delivered to Walmarts everywhere - and yes, it ends up in our landfills and dumps or clutters up our lives.
It’s not like the olden days when most of us couldn’t afford to just go out on any day of the year and purchase whatever little luxury or necessity we desired.
Back then we discretely made known our secret wants to Santa or one of his elves and maybe, just maybe, someone would go out of their way and stretch their budget to get us that unique gift that we would treasure all year…Or we would do the same for someone else.
Now we can all fulfill our every wish almost immediately with a click of the keyboard or a touch on our smartphone and a credit card. But what do we wish for? Have you seen the gift catalogues?
I kid you not: a 3-D Pen that draws in 3 dimensions, $99; an LED Foot Pain Reliever, $249; an iPhone Flash Drive, $199; a Vital Sign Tracker, $299; a Car Windshield display for MPH,RPM, and tells you when to take a break, $149; A copy of the New York Times for the day you were born, $99; a Micky Mouse Wall Clock, $125; a Radio signal-blocking Credit Card Wallet, $100; a Levitating Bluetooth Speaker, $150; an Authentic Himalayan Singing Bowl (complex harmonic tones), $200.
So hard to make a decision.
No, not really.
This year I/we have decided to forego the holiday rituals of sending cards or gifting gifts.
And what we might have spent on gifts and cards and postage, will be our modest donation to several charitable organizations that promote environmental causes, LGBT rights, LGBT youth, civil rights, anti-discrimination, immigrants’ rights, homeless shelters, and/or similar issues, all of which will be in need of support, now more than ever.
We encourage our friends, relatives and neighbors to consider supporting your preferred charities also.
Happy New Year
Blessings and Happy Holidays!