There are any number of reasons to love Christmas, the presents, time off work, time with family and friends, food favourites. Then of course there’s the significance for those for whom it’s a matter of faith. I’ve been known to love all of these, I mean, what’s not to love about a tradition that’s all about generosity, fun, faith and family? It’s all fabulous.
The thing is, it’s all got a bit corrupted over the years… generosity has become commercialised and as often as not Christmas feels like giving for the sake of giving itself; for he sake of the tradition and in doing so actually completely loses the object, the person in receipt of the gift. Even in trying to get the perfect gift for someone we’re ‘competing’ with everyone else who is trying (in various degrees) to do the same. And the recipient (and of course we, in turn) end up with a pile of stuff we don’t need, or worse, don’t like. Furthermore our kids end up with more toys than they know what to do with. More toys/stuff than they need, more than they can play with, and none of it’s significant at all.
I’m not in NZ for Christmas this year, I’ve been there 3x since Nov 2009 and decided to wait this one out and head home for birthdays in April (if I can hold out on visiting for that long). Deciding to do that raised the dilemma of getting presents for 9 niblings, 3 siblings (and other halves), 2 step-sibs and 3 parental type units without breaking the bank and that’s before I even try to get it to them… becuase, you know the Postal Service, regardless of the wonderful work they do, has to cover costs and those costs are expensive… really, really expensive.
Now, in normal circumstances I have no beef with sending presents via Australia Post… I do it almost monthly for birthdays across the Tasman but this Christmas, sending a job lot of presents to be added to the job lot of presents everyone will be getting anyway began to feel uncomfortable.
So I opted out… I opted out by asking my family to send donations to their favourite charities as their gift to me and on their behalf I bought a donkey. Now I’m off to write to them and introduce them to Hee Haw – whose significance to the family/community he will support goes far beyond any new pair of socks, jocks, books or chocolate I could have bought for them.