As the Christmas season is fully upon us (no denying it now that Turkey Day is out of the way), I am faced with dilemma of not only what to buy for others but also what to tell people to buy for me. A big part of me wishes we could completely take presents out of the equation and focus on what the season is really about (or what it should be, for us Christians). But that won't happen. And besides, I do obtain some joy in buying for others, though that good feeling mostly lies in my shopping for the giving tree at church, where I can feel reasonably secure that whoever is getting my gift wants and needs what I have bought.
But most of the rest of us? Do we really need anything? I have lamented about my being under-employed for years and how we sometimes struggle. But I know that compared to so many others, my family and I have it good. We have a roof over our heads, cars that run, closets and drawers full of clothes, food in our kitchen, a new oven to cook that food in, an HD TV (though currently between the injury-riddled Steelers and the non-existent hockey season, that is mostly wasted), internet access, plenty of toys, some money in savings, and health insurance (even though it is kind of crappy). And that does not even touch on the things that really matter, like each other and our general health.
So we don't really need anything more. Sure, I would love new (or at least not-stained) carpeting; a laptop that I don't have to plug in; an iPad; a fancy washer and drier; a nice, not-ripped couch (thank you, Sadie); a dining room table without water rings; a shed that is not falling apart; a smart phone with internet access. And as long as I am coming up with a list, a bigger house in a community with a good school district would certainly top my wishlist. But, again, I don't need any of those things. Yet today, my mom called to ask me if J would like a 3DS, as she was getting two of my nephews. J was right there for the call, and she immediately said yes, even though she already has a "regular" DS. I thought about the iPad that I really wanted, but then ultimately gave in to the game thing. Faced with having to make a quick, non-researched decision, I faltered. Sure, J will get something she wants, but not something she needs. And considering her other grandmother is supposed to get her an iPod, she will certainly have a merry Christmas in a materialistic way. But probably not in the way she should.
Unfortunately, these gifts also present a dilemma for me as there is really nothing left for me to buy my kid for Christmas, other than some clothes, which she needs anyway because, dang, those kids just keep growing. So even though I can say I want Christmas to be about more than the presents (and I really do, believe me), it bothers me that Santa won't be leaving too much of anything for my kid. How warped is that thinking?!
For the record, if my kid figures out between now and Christmas that there is no fat guy in a red suit who comes through the unlocked door (we don't have a chimney), I will feel just fine about my getting her a few needed pieces of clothing and little else. That counts for something, right?
In the meantime, I will have to come up with some presents for others who don't really need anything and probably won't like what I get them anyway, but I guess that is part of what the season is about. Falalalala!
Oh, and do you know what I really want for Christmas (besides peace on earth or at least people not being mean to one another)? The Pens and the rest of the NHL back on the ice. I wouldn't say no to some tickets to a Pens game either...