How did this year go by sooo quickly? I can't believe it's the 21st of December already! Happy Winter Solstice! From here on out, the days are only getting longer. My dad used to always say that to our family in the middle of winter, and we kidded him for it, but now that it really is cold and wet and dreary, I could use a pick-me-up such as thinking of the long summer days in June and July.
As Christmas Day is rapidly approaching, I'm once again struck by the many debates surrounding typical Christmas/holiday activities: shopping, consumerism, wasting gas, wasting time, eating junk, etc. I have been shopping online for my mother the last few days so that she can focus on other things, and, although it is incredibly convenient and saves a humongous amount of time, I have to wonder: is asking someone to ship me something, which involves packaging and the use of a truck or plane, (not to mention the actual item most likely being produced overseas and shipped here) really better than me going to the mall or the store and picking up the item myself? If I have to make many stops at different stores to find the best deal, then I guess shopping online is better. And if I have to drive in crazy traffic that causes my gas tank to quickly plummet down to Empty, then once again, I think online shopping is the way to go. I read an article a year or so ago about which practice was more green, and by the end of the article, even the writers didn't have a clear answer. I suppose whatever gives you the most peace of mind will make you the happiest around the holiday season, and perhaps that is the most important factor to consider.
Personally, I am making my own Christmas gifts this year, as I have done for the last three years or so. It saves money, but it also makes me think about each person I am gifting as I make his/her present. It allows me to offer something of myself and not be wrapped up in the thought of what I will be receiving in turn. This year, I am drying apples and making chocolate truffles, and, time willing, I might even try my hand at knitting a few scarves. In years past I have made bake-your-own pizza dough and refrigerator cookies, homemade jam, and jars of dry brownie and cookie mixes. Every year, I find that my friends and family don't mind a bit that I am making their gifts instead of spending massive amounts of money that I don't really have on items that are a little less personal.
Either way, though, this holiday season is about spending time with those you love. It's important to remember just how lucky we all are, to be able to 1) read, 2) own or have access to computers and instant information, 3) live in a non-third-world country, 4) be warm during the cold wintry months, 5) eat whatever and whenever we want, and 6) have the rights to choose, whether it be for politics, religion, or sexual preference.
Merry Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice, Everyone!