Wednesday, December 19, 2007
'Tis Better to Give than to . . . Get Knocked Up?
(Goodness. What a morning. There I was, putting the finishing touches on Moi’s Christmas post, when the Today Show bombarded the airwaves with yet another shock and awe pronouncement: Britney Spear’s sixteen-year-old-sister, Jamie Lynn, has managed to get herself knocked up. Sweet Jeebus in Heaven, these girls are old enough to drop the equivalent of Peru’s GNP on Bottega Veneta bags and oversized Dolce and Gabbana eye wear, but they don’t know from birth control?
It’s taking a great amount of will for Moi to refrain from completely revamping this morning’s post. But because we’re in the middle of Advent here, Party People, a holy, holy time, I will place my commentary on said incident reluctantly on the back burner and save it for a later date [sloppy ass 'ho.])
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The closer I get to the holidays, the more I start thinking about stress. The stress of extra work. Or not enough work because everyone has decided to adopt a cavalier attitude about deadlines (what, suddenly, we’re all European?). The stress of trying, when you have a fractured and far-flung family, to fit in days with the in-laws and days with the parents and days with the niece and days with friends.
Then there’s the stress that builds around gift giving. I know people who find this custom so meaningless, so mired in useless commercial excess, they don’t even stick around for the holidays but instead steal themselves away to some tropical beach or small overseas town where Christmas is more about praising Baby Jesus and stuffing one's face, and not so much about desperate, last minute purchases.
But you can’t escape Christmas. It’s like death and taxes, only sparklier and with more booze.
So I try hard, real hard, to turn the frown upside down and to view the holiday as a time of giving and gratefulness. As a time to honor one’s family, even crazy uncle Charlie with the grubby fingers and the weird politics. To call a long lost friend, even though the last time you spoke, they made fun of your shoes. To spend an afternoon – stone cold sober, mind you – letting a child run wild through Toys ‘R’ Us even if it ultimately means they choose one of those abhorrent Hannah Montana dolls over your suggested gift of an ant farm. And I try to spend even more time in the great outdoors, not just because exercise melts stress, but also to wonder all over again at the magic of creation that constructed itself just fine without concrete and glass. And to marvel at the concrete and glass, too, because they're also beautiful and also part of our world.
I also refuse to pass judgment on any gift I receive. Whether given out of obligation or irony or love, I will honor the fact that someone took the time to think of me, dip into their pocketbooks, and come up with something they think I’ll enjoy. Even if it’s a plastic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer who poops root beer flavored jellybeans. Even if, for some bizarre reason, something about Moi says Birkenstock rather than Blahnik.
And you know what else I won’t do? I won’t re-gift. Now that's a crass practice, right there. It’s one thing to say, “Hey, I got this laser-powered-toe-nail-clipper-blender-drink-maker-nylon-life-preserver-
sweater last year and you know, I just can’t use it. Would you like it?” And of course, it’s perfectly okay to just give the thing away to a local thrift shop in the hopes that it will become some else’s love at first sight. At a mere $1.99.
But it’s another thing entirely to package the thing up, re-wrap in brightly colored paper, stick a big fat red bow on it and pass it off to someone as something you picked out all by your lonesome. Talk about sin, Party People.
Don’t do it.