My 7 loyal readers may remember that the holidays are not my favorite time of year. It’s not that I dislike, or hold any malice against, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Hanuka, or Kwanza, but rather I would just like to consider myself a little too pragmatic. It’s just another day in one of twelve months, and just because Constantine decided to expand the reach of Christianity by overtaking Saturnalia doesn’t mean we have to propogate the change. Of course, it’s not quite that simple. The idea that we should take time to consider our place in society at large and the adage “it’s better to give that receive” are both ideas worthy of anyone’s time.
The fact is that for the most part, I do like Christmas. I like giving gifts that I think people will like or enjoy. I like the look on my sister Amy’s face when she opens the hat, gloves or scarf I picked out for her and I know she’ll brag “my big brother gave me that” when asked. Ditto for Amber. What I don’t like it the commericialization of the holiday. That may sound weird coming from someone who is closer to atheism than anything spiritually, but it’s true: a holiday celebrating family, friends and love would get my vote. A holiday with a three month commercial ramp up, well, sort of leaves me cold.
That’s not to say I don’t like things. I do. Really. The fact that Garrett and I can make an impulse purchase of a plasma television proves that. But I don’t like the feeling that getting me a gift is an obligation. Seriously, if you have to ask what I want, why bother? Why not find me something that makes you think of me?
All of the above is a really long-winded lead in to the fact that this year, Garrett and I have decided to do Christmas differently. And like a true geek, “differently” means there’s a web application involved. We’re still going to buy gifts for everyone, but we’re asking those who would normally buy us things to instead help us provide Christmas for two “needy” families in the Fort Wayne area. We’ve sent letters to this effect to our family members, and I even hacked together a registry of sorts where people can let us know what they’re getting “our” families, so we know what needs to be filled in.
It’ll be interesting to see how my family responds; they tend to take the exchange of dollar values very seriously, and when we announced our intentions at dinner a few weeks ago, we were greeted by complete silence.
If you should, for some reason, want to participate in our Christmas exercise, go ahead, select a gift from the list . I’ll email you shipping information, and our families (AA-1 and S-10) will appreciate it, I know. Happy holidays. Already.