On the way home last night I was listening to NPR, and I heard some lefty, liberal, tree-hugging boffin waffle on about the same garbage someone always waffles on about at this time of year: it's a boon time for meany big-box stores and the true spirit of Christmas has been forgotten.
Okay, here's the news: Christmas is about presents. It's about giving stuff and getting stuff. Some crappy stuff, sure, but even that is a delight to open (until you find out it's crappy).
This NPR dude was on about how we should buy half the number of gifts and make them more "connected to the earth." Well, let me tell you that the packaging around the junk I give and receive is indestructible and will be connected to the earth for ever. The hemp-based tea kettle or whatever you suggested won't last a week, my friend.
Every year I hear about how we should all just be nice to each other at this time of year, exchange sincere words and big hugs. Ever tried unwrapping a hug? Land you in jail and labeled a sex offender, so I'd recommend against.
Look, the truth is that Christmas is about the children. Sorry, The Children. It is. The best memories I have as a kid come from Christmas mornings, my brother and sister and me poking at the mound of gifts under the tree, fizzing with the excitement of what was to come. And before that, the wonderful feeling of anticipation as I tried to stay awake and catch Santa doing his thing (even when I knew Santa didn't exist). Priceless.
But Mr. NPR says, instead of giving a commercially-bought and carefully wrapped gift, we mail a farm animal to someone who needs it. Which, I promise you, will result in this Christmas morning conversation:
Kids: "Err, Dad, why is there a big empty space under the tree?"
Me: "Sorry, kids, no presents this year. But I did donate a heifer to some guy in Afghanistan."
Me: "In your name!"
Kids: "What's a heifer? Why can't we have one? No fair."
Me: "A baby cow. So they can get milk or eat it."
Kids: "But a drone will probably kill it first."
Me: "You watch too much news."
And years later, when they're comforting me on my death bed:
Me: "Remember Christmases, how special they always were?"
Kids: "Yeah, every year you donated a heifer to the same dude in Afghanistan."
Me: "Wasn't that awesome?"
Kids: "No. Now hold still while we adjust your pillows. . . It's okay, Dad, it's supposed to go over your face."
So, for the sake of the children, my Christmas tree will once more be surrounded by boxes and bags, flowing across the living room floor like economy-saving lava.
Just look at these cuties. Can you really blame me?