Tuesday, November 29, 2011

More useful generosity

A meditation for the Christmas shopping season

It's hard to buy Christmas presents for your parents. One year, in complete desperation, I bought my mom an electric ice scraper that plugged into the car's cigarette lighter. Did she ever use it? Did she know where it was two months later? No.

So I wasted my money. And my mom felt less than appreciated. ("It's the thought that counts" means "this stinks but I love you anyway".) Who won?

Why buy people stuff they don't need? And I do mean need.

Instead of buying junk no one needs or getting a TV a few inches bigger, what if we give gifts that help everyone involved? This year give your loved ones gift certificates for things they use — for example, hair cuts, oil changes, or meals at local businesses. Lets give people something useful that also helps our neighbors rather than clutter our lives with one more trinket.