Bah Humbug

Bah Humbug

The holidays are upon us once again, and I will take this moment to express how I feel about Christmas gift giving. First of all, in my home, I do not celebrate Christmas. I am Jewish, and I did not grow up in the South where it is more common for Jews to celebrate Christmas. We never had a Hanukkah bush. We always lit the menorah every night. I would have Christian friends over, and my mother always had little gifts for each of us, along with the traditional potato latkes. 

As an adult, I prefer to buy a gift when I see something that I think a friend would like and give it to them whenever I see them (the element of surprise is always nice), or perhaps on a birthday. The frenzy of Christmas shopping just is not my thing. We do have our traditions, though, and dear friends with whom we have shared Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for a number of years. Getting the proper gifts is always a challenge. 

‘How much is a goat?’

Every year, I have proposed to my husband that we buy goats through Heifer International for people in other countries and give them in the name of friends and family members. He only laughs and says, “How much is a goat?” His tone says he’s not crazy about the idea. “But we have so much and so does everyone else. A goat could change a family’s life somewhere in the world.” Then I remember the aunt I had who would always make donations for us instead of giving us gifts, and I do see his point. However, I am determined to do the goats one of these years. 

For me, it is not about the money. I tend to be a pretty generous person, and I love to see the reaction when I do give a gift. And goats are not cheap, by the way. I just think we all, for the most part, at least among our family and friends, have too, too much. Another pair of earrings or kitchen implement will only be lost in the mix. Maybe someone will give me a goat. But please make it for someone else, somewhere else.

Buy anything you want

Unfortunately, I am having some difficulty remembering which store had this sign hanging by the cash register, but it is actually true that my husband would say, buy anything you want. We do buy anything we want, but the truth of the matter is that there is little that we want or need. We are old. 

All around us on our planet, people are suffering from lack of food or a safe place to live and raise their children. So, if you are stumped at what to purchase for the Joneses, get on your computer and look up Heifer International. It does not have to be a goat. It could be a water buffalo or a cow. There are even options for a portion of a goat, a cow or a water buffalo. And if I manage to do this next year, my Aunt Bea will be looking down and saying: Way to go, Phyllis.

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