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by Pam Payne
We're down the the wire. It's only 10 days until Christmas, and we're not talking shopping days here. I've limited my Christmas buying this year to immediate family only--kids, husband, mother, and mother-in-law. Husband's family, including all kids, will get my usual fare of used hard back books. (Hey, they look like new, but only cost $1)
What's unusual about my family is that the youngest is often the most mature. She's demanded that I don't spend much on her. She prefers I buy something used, or (her first choice) that I donate money to a humanitarian aid project like the H20 project or the one where your donation buys a herd of goats for a family--which is what I did for her last year.
With many of the merchants trying to rid the holiday of its religious meaning, I'm all for stopping all Christmas gift-giving if it means shopping at those stores. Stop and think about it. We buy hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of gifts because it is Christmas. Not because it's the winter solstice. Not because it's the "holiday season." I say if they don't want "Christmas" then they shouldn't reap the rewards of Christmas shopping.
This year, my store of choice has been the Salvation Army. You can buy many brand-new items there, plus all kinds of unique things in excellent condition. Yes, I've had to bite my tongue and shop at what we call the Evil Empire, but I haven't spent any major bucks there. My husband's favorite store has been the little privately owned guitar shop in the next town. The owner is an older man who loves to talk--and talk--and talk. But he gives us great prices and personal attention, and we're helping an individual rather than a corporation.
Isn't that what Christmas should be about anyway? Caring about individuals, helping where we can, taking the time to really think about the gifts rather than just plopping the credit card on the counter for the latest craze? It's about family getting together, it's about going to church to acknowledge the real reason we're celebrating in the first place. It's about love, when you come right down to it.
And what is there to love about going into debt to support mega-stores who won't even recognize the reason for the season?
In other news, my Christmas story is out right now in Woman's World. I've gotten phone calls and emails from friends and family all over the country, and one from Canada, saying how much they enjoyed it. This is totally new to me, and it has completely made my Christmas. I couldn't have gotten a better gift than to know I gave someone a few minutes of reading pleasure.
And at the risk of once again being politically incorrect, I wish you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS!