I have been thinking a lot about this lately. Part of the reason our economy has become rather non-existent over the past year is due to our over-reliance on credit. Buying so much stuff we couldn’t afford has finally come back haunt us and left us with a lot of crap along with a mountain full of debt.
Add this to the holiday season and all we have heard is how much retailers are suffering. People are cutting back on buying stuff and trying to stay “within their means.” I have even read somewhere that some parents are wondering how to actually break it to their teenagers that they can’t get whatever they want.
Now, I’m not trying to minimize what many people are going through in our country. Those who are losing their homes or their jobs have legitimate worries and my heart goes out to those people. But there are even more out there who equate happiness with “stuff” and that breaks my heart too.
I don’t have a whole lot of plans to purchase a bunch of toys for Swee’Pea and TheMonk. They will get their toys they asked from Santa and maybe a toy or two from Mommy and Daddy but I think that’s about all they “need.” In fact, I recently was introduced to a website called rentAtoy.com. It’s like Netflix for toys. You pay a monthly fee and then change out toys at your pace. This appeals to me because you could have a small group of toys that rotate and never have a room so filled with crap that you can’t walk through it without stubbing your toe on something. If this appeals to you, check it out.
Second, and perhaps even more meaningful, is to give to those in need this holiday season. The website Redefine Christmas encourages gifts to charity in lieu of gifts to people. Because I work for a charity and know how much gifts people make mean to those I work with, this appeals to me in the biggest way. The great thing is that whatever your interest, there is a charity out there. (And if your interest happens to be the YMCA and helping kids, and you cannot think of a place to send your money, you can send it my way here.)
Anyway, this is my two cents. All I want to remember is that the “holiday season” isn’t about buying stuff. Ultimately it’s a significant religious moment for a handful of us but it’s also a time for family. A time to count our blessings. A time to be together and share love and friendship. And fortunately these are things that don’t take Visa, Mastercard or American Express.
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