When Josh Brolin’s character in Wall Street Money Never Sleeps is asked how much is enough he replies, “More”. It must have been the Christmas season. Although we do not openly agree with him, most of us, deep down, wish we had “more” even as we tout how grateful we are. We talk about the reason for the season, but the truth is Americans plan to spend an average of $700 on Christmas gifts and we all know how those well-planned budgets fail at Christmas time. The electronic gadgets we crave are guaranteed budget-breakers; my iTouch comes in a close second to the best Christmas present I ever received. I do not expect anything will ever beat the joy I felt upon discovering an orange Huffy under the tree when I was six. Why do we get caught up in frenzied over-spending during what is supposedly the most blessed time of year with family and friends? Is it our herd mentality that is so evident on Black Friday? Is it our desire for our children to feel the kind of joy I felt when I spied my Huffy? Is it the endless TV ads, emails, and catalogs that lure us in with their touted deals? I keep telling myself that I have everything I need, but the diamond commercials make me drool. My husband puts me in check by yelling “Blood diamonds!” with faked indignation. I never should have let him watch that movie. Honestly, what makes me overspend is that I want to buy special presents for everyone I love. We get more pleasure from giving than receiving, but I wouldn’t try telling that to a six-year-old.
I agree! And I also know how easily it is to get lured into spending. I get the Sunday paper mainly to get coupons, but I can’t help myself looking through ads for Target and Best Buy. All I’m doing is getting sucked into temptation. I mean this new espresso machine may change my life!! lol!
Your shopping basket filled with myriad shapes and sizes, all wrapped in mystery, hints that a portion of the answer to your question might have to do with the puzzle of just what nestles within those cheerful wrappings. The giver expends considerable thought on choosing a special gift that will carry a clear message of love and reassurance. The recipient goes through a similar exercise to surprise and delight in return. With only a few designated gifting times throughout the year, we might tend to overly imbue our gifting with heavy import. A well chosen gift will reinforce, renew and reinvigorate the relationship. But in a culture that values possessions and gifts in monetary terms, we need to be careful to not follow the herd in believing that the amount of money spent is directly proportional to the amount of love that we want to convey. Perhaps we could follow a path less well trod by remembering that love is demonstrated by our words and behavior. Some well chosen words carefully written, some special behaviors carefully enacted, can be most memorable. Of course, carefully selected stuff manufactured by others wouldn’t hurt, if we can truly afford it.
How poetically you describe the importance we place on giving to those we care about, David. Absolutely beautiful.