One week left until Christmas. I can't wait... for it all to be over, that is.
Perhaps it sounds rude of me to not extol the glories of the holiday season. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Caroling through snow-swept neighborhoods. Glittering lights and jingling bells. But that isn't Christmas anymore. It's a nightmare of rudeness, bombardment by family, and the worst fright of them all: American consumerism run rampant. That's right: the absurd notion that the holidays mean nothing more than getting the biggest, most expensive gifts.
The heart of Christmas is dead. In its place is greedy materialism wrapped in a phony red bow. Good will toward men went out the window with George Bailey and Clarence the angel in pursuit of some shred of hope. The little things--the scent of pine boughs, being with loved ones by a roaring fire, and yuletide feasts--are forgotten memories of a bygone era. Simple pleasures no longer exist.
It's depressing and infuriating to see people clamber for bargains, trinkets, and gadgets, pushing and fighting over meaningless objects. And that, I'm sorry to inform you, is what all these "deals" are: empty nothingness. Something to be forgotten in another month. Another toy to add to the pile and keep children from realizing they have an imagination. Another gizmo to impress people with nothing better to do with their time than keep up with the Joneses. Piles of junk that will one day line another methane-manufacturing landfill which will serve as the foundation for another useless chain store selling more of what is buried inches beneath the feet of its shoppers.
Yes, there are things I would truly like to have. But the important things I wish for most can't be found in glittery wrapping paper beneath a tree. They can't be bought or sold or picked up last-minute in the final shopping rush. Good company. A sense of belonging. Time. Love. Understanding. Just like that G-scale train set or airplane ticket to Sydney, they're not bound to appear this year suddenly on the 25th.
I live in a bitter world of materialism. Not by choice, but by surroundings. There are many good people out there, yet many choose to hibernate through the chaos like myself. I still believe these intangible gifts are out there and I see a peek of them from time to time. Yet they're the least likely gifts any of us will receive. They require honest effort, not a padded wallet. They come from the heart, not from a cold store shelf.
The greatest gift we can ever give is care. It can be as simple as the phrase "I'm sorry" said in honesty. It's telling someone how much they mean to you instead of what they can buy you. It's setting aside those few free minutes in your day for someone special. It's giving a hand to someone who needs a little help or politely opening that door for someone. The smallest efforts make the greatest impact.
Instead, I watch the crowds hurry along with blind eyes in pursuit of plastic treasure.