Gratitude Sunday: Un-Buying Christmas

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

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Sunday Haiku
Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain.
Unceasing. Relentless. Loud.
Water drumming ground.

Sunday Musings
I am thankful Thanksgiving’s over. No epic fails. I thought the turkey was dry; the hubster said it was a tough bird, so maybe it wasn’t the cook’s fault. We’ll call it that. We ate it anyway. And we’re still eating it. I’m grateful to have it and the other leftovers as well.

I am not a big fan of the holidays. It’s ok. You can call me Ebenezer. I embrace my frugality. It’s not that I don’t like giving. I do. But we have this big commercial view of what holidays should look like, yet reality is rarely like the media presentation. The key is to stop comparing, especially with the distorted view of American style TV commercials. Who cares what the other person has? You have what you have.

Christmas wouldn’t happen without women. We are the ones who provide all the hoopla, making sure the presents are perfect and wrapped; the tree is installed, lighted and decorated; the meal is sumptuously laid upon the table. Perhaps we can stand together and say “no more”. This Christmas we will stand together against oppression; we won’t support the hate, the differences, the capitalism that is killing us. We will fill our homes and hearts and families with love, with sharing the joy of each other, and we don’t need a gift, a thing, to prove our love. We can celebrate this holiday and make it about meaning and giving of the self, not giving of things.

Long ago I became wary of the consumer push that now identifies the American holiday season. When you have little “disposable income” you have to plan and pinch every penny. And learn how to be happy with less. It’s isn’t hard. Many Americans live in over-abundance, anyway. More than 50 percent of Americans live under the poverty level and for some Americans Christmas is distressful, not joyful. How do you create the “perfect” Christmas without money in a culture that seems to value money above all else? Our world would not collapse if, for one year, this year, next year, any year, we did not go into debt in the name of Christ.

As we struggle with despair this year and fear for the unbridled hate unleashed in the United States after this last election cycle, corporations and consumerism seem to be at the very heart of the disintegration of this culture. We don’t have to support it. That’s not to say we don’t have to support American people, but we have to find a new path. Remember the definition of insanity is doing things the same way and expecting a different result. The path defined by the president-elect is not the different path we need to make our way in a world that is far surpassing America in compassion and progressive support of constituents. Let’s choose not to support the corporations.

For several years now I have delighted in donating to a few causes as a gift to myself from the little “disposable” income I had. My small income gave little fluidity of spending, but the donations made me feel good. Now having been unemployed for the last 10 months, 4 of those with zero income, that small pleasure is denied me. I have to use all my money protecting what little I have (a modest home with a so-far-still solid roof, along with a modest lifestyle). One must take care of oneself and one’s family before one can be comfortable giving to others.

Why does it have to be about how much money you spend for Christmas? Who says you must go to the store and support corporate manufacturing in other countries? You don’t have to participate in that at all. I have so much to give away I have no need to buy gifts to give.

If you like shopping you can still shop. Try shopping in your local neighborhoods. Buy used, not new. Sometimes used items are better than new. Shop in stores you haven’t been in before, like that little second hand shop you’ve been meaning to go into. You can avoid the Big Thrift Stores like Goodwill, who pay the CEOs in the 6 figure range, and their workers at below minimum wage. You’d be surprised what the florist shop has on their shelves, or the local art gallery, or the independent bookstore (please support your independent bookstore!). There’s always your favorite antique store or holiday craft event or church bazaar you love as well. Many local lending libraries have used book sales a month or two before the holidays. If you shop on-line try the usual: e-bay, Amazon, and Craigslist, among others; all advertise used or handmade things that would make great gifts.

Items don’t have to be new. If the thing is in good condition, great. That works. You don’t want to spend your money on trash or something that truly belongs in the dumpster. Seems silly to have to say but don’t buy chipped Pyrex or moldy books. Even like-new, gently used toys and books can be found for the littles in your life. Do make sure they are intact and in good safe working condition.

Then consider whether you need to shop and spend at all. Can you re-purpose an item from your home? Give something that belonged to your grandparent to your grandchild after writing the story that goes with it? Do you have a cupboard full of casserole dishes or wine glasses you don’t use anymore and newlyweds in your family who might enjoy them in their kitchen? Make sure everything is sparkling clean and then you can be creative and dress them up in fun ways.

My mom was the master of creative gifting. Thanksgiving was her holiday, but Christmas was her party. Her birthday was November 22 so some years Thanksgiving was on her birthday. She would host the Thanksgiving celebration, feed us a feast, send us home with plates full of leftovers, and let us know we were all expected to be at her home Christmas Eve for the family party. She knew us so well; she spent her extra time during the year finding perfect little gifts for all of us, graciously adding to her shopping list as new in-law spouses and grandchildren came along. Sometimes she needed to replace her things and she’d gift us with the old which she’d had reconditioned. She always made them look pretty too, a gift of skill my sister has inherited. Me, not so much. I am so unskilled at making the perfect holiday my gift-wrapping and craft making, for example, remain in the elementary school levels. I have also mastered meal failures.

Not to worry. It doesn’t matter in the great scheme of love. Don’t compare your holiday to anyone else’s. Make it yours. No need for perfect. Excellent works. So does brilliant. Adequate is fine too. Peaceful is always acceptable. Grateful is priceless.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – I saw a stand of brilliant yellow black eyed Susans, so bright on a gray day. dscn6721 Holly so holiday red and green, just needs a bit of white snow, and silvery moonlight. dscn1134 Love the soft green of moist moss on my favorite red rock. dscn7264

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} High-Rise (2015, rated R) a British dystopian drama featuring Tom Hiddleston, who moves into a futuristic self-contained high-rise apartment. Bizarrely twisted and creepy, this film made me feel dirty like I felt when I watched A Clockwork Orange. I won’t watch it again. Meh. * The History Channel’s production of Sons of Liberty (2015, not rated TV series), about the American Revolution in the 1770s and interesting theatric (read: license) views of the men and women who fought for the colonies to form the new nation against the Crown and the Empire. I love history and this was a reasonable presentation. Many of the spoken lines in the script had every pertinence to today’s political climate except the battle has altered.

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Currently Reading The Wonder (2016, fiction) by Emma Donoghue, who wrote Room, set in 1859 about an 11 year old girl who takes no food for 4 months and the nurse who is called in to tend her. The religion and science of the local culture proclaim her a miracle, yet the girl exhibits every sign of starvation. * The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life ( 2016, sociology) by Anu Partanen. I might be willing to pay an overdue fine to my local lending library as I am a few pages from finishing and don’t want to wait in queue again. The material is not dense, but so interesting and so well stated I have to read the sentences over again. Will be spending some time with the copy machine before I give it back.

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This week I have been grateful for:

  • A quiet Thanksgiving.
  • No epic fails for Thanksgiving dinner.
  • The hubster, who makes divine gravy which is perfect to disguise dry turkey.
  • Homemade stock. Part of what makes great gravy.
  • The son, who loves Brussels sprouts.
  • The privacy of my own home.
  • The warm embrace of water when I use the pool.
  • Getting to use the pool three nights a week.
  • Learning a couple new pool exercises.
  • Being comfortable with a frugal lifestyle.
  • Seeing what is crazy wrong in this country and seeking resolution in my own way.
  • Being spoiled with indoor heat without having to build a fire.
  • Layered gray clouds like piles of French lace.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

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Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, Education, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Photography, Poetry, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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