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Friday, November 28, 2014

'The Perfect Gift'

And so it begins. The annual push for 'the perfect gift' is under way.

I truly have come to hate that phrase. What is 'the perfect gift' anyway? Is it a $60,000 Lexus? An expensive diamond ring? Maybe it's warm clothes, new shoes, or a nice hot meal. Maybe it's an unexpected act of kindness or some hours spent volunteering for a non-profit organization.

Yesterday's newspaper's news sections seemed an afterthought, tucked behind countless ads breathlessly touting all the great bargains to be had on 'black Friday' or 'black Thursday.' It took a while to even find the news sections of the paper, buried as they were among dozens of ads.Thanksgiving day no longer is a day of family, food and football. Now it's a race to see which store will open the earliest. Midnight opening no longer are good enough. Some retailers are open all day on Thanksgiving, while others open their doors to the impatient crowds at 6 p.m. or 8 p.m. Greed rules!

My daughter will be 21 in a couple of weeks, and there are only a couple of things on her wish list. There is nothing I need. My wish list includes a couple of 'oldies' CDs and a copy of the Carole King biography. That's it. I have been trying to get rid of a lot of my things, so the last thing I want is a bunch of new 'stuff.' I get much more pleasure from donating to my favorite charities than from pursuit of things that aren't needed.

I wish we would return to the old ways of celebrating Christmas, with an emphasis on family, faith and charitable works. I understand that not everyone celebrates the religious aspects of Christmas, but the rampant commercialism, the emphasis on finding 'the perfect gift' and the push to show someone how much you love them by going into debt, is a sad commentary on our society.

So give up the search for 'the perfect gift' and focus on what truly matters. People are expecting homemade cookies and fudge from me, which I will gladly supply. This year, give of yourself, your time and your talents.