I grew up in Eastern Europe in the Roman Catholic family and Christmas was our main holiday every year. It was about families getting together, it was about good food and for us kids it was about the Christmas tree and the presents. When you're a kid, you look forward to these presents, no doubt. That's just it though. Presents were mostly for kids. I remember adults exchanging little gifts too but they were just little tokens of appreciation and reserved only for family and closest friends. At least that's how it was in my family and those around me I knew.
Fast forward to present day in Canada where Christmas is commercialised beyond belief and EVERYONE apparently supposed to get a gift. This is pure insanity. A parent at the bus stop this morning was instructing his little child to make sure to give gifts to all the various teachers that child has. When the school bus arrived, the front of the bus was covered with gift bags for the bus driver. They were not just little bags either. They were full size gift bags suggesting something substantial inside. The little boy at the bus stop had a gift for the bus driver too.
Are we not going a little nuts here? In addition to my 15 family members, am I supposed to shop for gifts for four teachers and two bus drivers too? Why stop there. How about the principal and the cleaning staff as well? How about if you have more than one child? Do you work? How about all your co-workers and the boss too? Can we stop this madness and actually enjoy the holidays the way they were meant to be enjoyed? Is a homemade card and a heartfelt thank you not good enough anymore?
My daughter went to school today with Christmas cards for her home-room teacher and two bus drivers. She made these cards herself and they have more heart and good cheer in them than any store bought card would ever have. She worked hard on these cards. That is her gift to the teacher and the bus drivers. I didn't buy any gifts for them because I don't know these people good enough to even guess what they might like. To me gift giving during holidays is intimate and special and from the heart and it should be reserved for those closest to us. I'm not going to buy gifts for the sake of buying gifts and because everyone else is doing so.
Don't get me wrong. I love to give but this is not giving. This is holiday induced shopping mania which is oiling up the corporate machine and putting hard earned money into the pockets of people that don't need any more money. This is thoughtless buying of cheap merchandise to satisfy this consumer oriented society and filling up our dump sites. What meaningful you can possibly buy for people you don't know much about?
Seriously. Just stop.