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The Gift II

on December 8th, 2009 by Rebeccca

Scrooge-like, I ponder “the gift.” At any other time of year, I might have written about the gift of life – or love or friendship. The gift of sight or smell or touch. The gift of joy.

But now, as I walk the streets, I see people shopping frantically. Trying to buy something that isn’t totally useless, that the person might like. The gift-box sets that retailers hope will fill that need to find something that looks pretty – brought to us in container loads from China, produced by someone willing to work for a fraction of what we would.

I see people paying with their credit cards. Hoping that by March or April they will be able to pay it off.

I see kids tearing into their presents, discarding them as fast as they open them, their appetite for more and bigger unsatiated. The belief that stuff will make them happy already entrenched in their psyche.

I see the piles of trashed paper on Christmas morning. The colour-printed cardboard boxes and the molded plastic.

This holiday assaults most of the values that I hold. Simplicity. Treading lightly on the earth. Being aware of the resources we consume. Consciousness.

I don’t want to show you how much I care by buying something for you. I want to show you I care by listening to you intently. By looking into your eyes and recognizing your spirit. By sharing stories – laughing and crying together.

I feel trapped this year. It has been at least 6 years since I have purchased a Christmas present. I want nothing. I don’t want to pretend that I need or want what you have given me. . . or to watch you open my perfect gift and then find it later on your shelf, unused. Earth’s resources, manufactured by slaves, packaged into guilt. But a new friend of mine is obsessed with gifts. She generously buys gifts for all her friends and expects gifts in return. In her mind, shopping is the solution for most problems. And so I find myself shopping. In and out of stores. Inspecting items – would she like this? How much should I spend? What can I buy that won’t end up in her store room? I resent doing this. I try to understand her obsession with stuff. What does this mean – exchanging gifts? Why is it so important to her?

I don’t know the answers. I just know, that for her – I will do it. Because life has cheated her in so many ways. This is a small concession I can make.

So I buy the gift. Now I realize that I have to wrap it. Maybe I’ll write poems on recycled paper, tape them together, and use that to wrap the gift.

| Posted in ruminations

2 Responses to “The Gift II”

  1. Laura
    January 22nd, 2010 at 10:22 am

    I love this piece! The gift obsession does spin out of control. Things don’t satisfy and yet it is so lovely to receive a gift that has been thoughtfully given. By the way, my Mullet aunts always had a knack for giving great presents!

  2. Aryana
    June 29th, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Hi Rebecca

    Wanting to chat about your bench book and something I can include.


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