We had a lovely Thanksgiving here, with lots of food and time with family and the like. It's been good to reflect on how much I have, both in terms of material stuff and the less easily documented. I really liked the post Stephanie wrote this year about domestic life and possessions and such; I am so, so rich, even in the most literal, monetary sense of the world. I have realized anew how lucky and singular it is in the world today to be cozily tucked away with my family in a warm house, safe and secure and with so much food that I am constantly in danger of being bigger than I want to be. And of course, there is an abundant richness to my life beyond the safe home and bank accounts and closets full of clothes for all of us.
The Christmas shopping season started yesterday, they tell me; I was almost successful in participating in Buy Nothing Day yesterday but did fall off the wagon a bit at one of my favorite fabric stores here in Dallas. Contemplating Christmas gifts in light of ugly consumerism here and the state of the world in general does make me feel a bit queasy. I sometimes have a hard time hitting the right balance of weltschmerz and functioning like a normal American. Or do I not want to be a normal American and the weltschmertz is really the way to go? Anyway, one thing that always helps me AND de-stresses holiday shopping AND actually brings relief to people's physical needs in the world is to give gifts like these from World Vision. We've done this for at least some of the people on our Christmas list every year since we got married. If I have an actual good idea for a gift that I think someone would like and actually use, I will get that, but we decided that if we couldn't think of something truly nice/useful/fun, we would give them the gift of ducks, or education for girls, or a goat. It's especially great for those really hard-to-buy-for people in your family who don't really need or want anything but to be remembered. World Vision sends you a nice little card that you can wrap up for the person to open. I was nervous about doing this our first year because it's pretty far outside the norm for my family, but if our family members have been thinking we are crazy Scrooge types, they've never said anything about it to our faces. So anyway, here is my holiday tip for the year-- gift idea, stress management, and doing something about the need in the world, all wrapped into one!