A few days ago, I braved the throngs and waded into a few stores. Moms, Dads, and lots of children. The youngsters dithering with excitement, the moms, dads, and other adults withering with exhaustion.
There were carts loaded with boxes large and small. Everyone seemed happy enough, smiling and civilized. The carts and the contents did bring back fun memories.
You could say we reared our sons to be frugal – not stingy or scroogy, but careful with how they spent their meager funds. I recall them calling loudly across the aisles of Bush Stationers – “Can we afford this, Mom?” Or, with a concerned face, telling a shopper – with certain do-dads in their cart ... “My Mom says those things are a waste of money.” Shopkeepers were never sorry to see us leave.
We didn’t think our children were deprived. They didn’t seem to think they were deprived. That’s how life worked. If you can afford it, and it makes you happy – go for it. If you can’t afford it, better wait until you can, and it will make you even happier. If you have some to spare, share it with someone who needs it more than you do. That’s how we’d like life to work.
Gift giving is about the heart, the thought, the message. Some of my most treasured possessions are handwritten childish notes, a blue bowl from a favorite aunt, our first Christmas ornament, the funny carving from Uncle Jim. Memories.
So, I will happily sally forth with the spirit of Christmas urging me along. I'll try to forget the long ago question “Mom, can we afford this?” I'll just say – go for it, make someone happy. There’ll even be some left – you know what to do with it.
Good tidings and great joy,