Not For Sale
November 19, 2012 § 5 Comments
So we stand on the threshold of holiday insanity, the season of cut-rate electronics, trampled-to-death shoppers, and maxed out credit cards as we attempt to meet the tragically flawed assumptions of what constitutes contentment in twenty-first century America.
It will likely surprise none of you that our family has long ago abandoned the hollow, commercialized version of the season. This is not to say we do not celebrate, or give gifts, only that our celebrations at this time of year do not revolve around gift giving and the gifts we give (and tend to receive) are of modest monetary value, if their value can be measured in monetary terms at all. Last year I made the boys a pair of step stools from chunks of spalted maple I pulled from our neighbor’s sugarwoods. Penny knit some hats and something else that slips my mind. The boys get stockings full of the small, utilitarian particulars that help fill their days: .22 rounds, electrical tape, colored pencils, arrow fletching. Sometimes, someone gets a book. And that’s about it.
It is sad to me to see the continued expansion of the holiday shopping season, which now seems to include the one holiday that has somehow managed to avoided becoming overtly commercialized: Thanksgiving. Because as it turns out, this November certain of our nation’s largest retail chains will open on Thanksgiving night for the first time. Ah, yes, nothing better than a good session at Wal Mart to truly honor the spirit of the day. Whatever. I love Thanksgiving, and will continue to love it, in no small part because I love to eat, but also because it seems to me as pure an expression of inclusionary celebration as any that currently exists. For the past few years, we’ve hosted an open door Thanksgiving that includes whatever friends and family members would like to join us. It’s generally an eclectic group, ranging in age from 3 to 73, full of folks who would probably never break bread together otherwise. I love them all, but of course if any of them leave early to hit the opening bell at Wal Mart, I will beat them about the head with half-gnawed drumstick.
To those whose livelihood depends on the glut of material consumption associated with the next six or so weeks, I am sorry: You will be seeing few, if any, of my dollars. It is not that I don’t like you, or think that you are bad. Rather, it is simply that I have evolved into a mighty sense of where my own happiness and contentment are fed and watered. And it is not at a cash register.