News from REUTERS (excerpts): Baking, bartering, scouring consignment shops and waiting until the last minute for bigger bargains are strategies being used by recession-wary [people] who still want to give gifts this holiday season. “Handmade products are really going to replace a lot of spending,” said [a] retail industry analyst, [who] tells people to break out the cookbook and “bake some cookies.” He expects that people will be making their own gift baskets instead of buying expensive ones. “A lot of people are very comfortable with saying, ‘I’m on a budget,'” this season.
We’re being hit with one financial horror story after another and more are sure to come. What if we embraced this occasion to rethink the annual gift-giving frenzy? Unless you’re a believer in the birth of Jesus as the son of God (the Christ in Christmas), why celebrate at all? Probably because it’s such a custom and everyone’s doing it. But why feel compelled to exhaust savings and max credit cards to buy obligatory gifts?
What if we were to dedicate this “season” to Peace on Earth? How might we practice peace close to home? Could we teach our young ones about the problematic nature of gift-giving and receiving? How might we initiate conversations about “joy to the world” with colleagues at work, neighbours down the hall or across the fence, and people living on the street? How could we–each of us in our unique ways–expand the familiar and stressful OLD into a creative and affordable NEW?