Monday, November 27, 2006


Betmo posted an open commentary thread about the holidays, and it got me thinking. I didn't comment there, because I was thinking in paragraphs, not little bits.

She posits, as have many before her, that the holidays are too materialistic here in the "Land of Freedom and Democracy", and that in other places they also celebrate similar holidays but without the "Greed".

So I started thinking about this.

First off, I am thinking that perhaps it is not "greed" that is the motivating force. Ok, now that I've pissed you all off - let me explain. Yes, the little children exhibit a greedy desire for lots of presents. Fuck, who doesn't love lots of presents? Opening all those little packages and finding inside the things you would love to buy for yourself but cannot justify - is FUN. But is this really why we fling presents at one another at times when things should be quiet and loving?

Or is it because we've lost touch on how to show love to one another without flinging a gift at them? "Helzberg Diamonds - show her you'd marry her all over again". "How can you tell him you love him? With a gold watch... a new car... a set of power tools from Sears..."

How about trying something really amazing - TELL HIM YOU LOVE HIM. SAY THE WORDS TO HER. Nah. That's too hard.

And it really IS too hard. It's EASY to fling a present. It's HARD to actually say "I love you" to someone you love. My Dad has never been the huggy type - not a demonstrative sort at all. Ever since Mom died, I've made a specific point of telling him "I love you" whenever I end a phone call, or when I show up and leave his place down in Florida. It's hard, because he really didn't know how to deal with it, and I would usually get a "Uh, yeah, ok" kind of response.

But lately he's been responding "Yah, I love you too" - which is something I really can't remember him doing a lot while I was growing up. Reticent German Immigrant family values, I suppose. I'll fling him a gift, but it will have a card that really says what I feel attached. I'm not 100% brave yet. *sheepish grin*

Flinging a present at someone is the easy-way-out, it's the way to say "I care about you" without actually having to voice it - and it allows you to FAKE admiration or a more tender emotion with people whom you really cannot STAND, but have to maintain a relationship, like your great-aunt Sylvia with the bad teeth and disgusting cole-slaw, or the woman down at work who seems determined to get you in trouble for her own amusement. A present looks like you're caring, even though you're just flinging money at the problem instead of solving it.

So where am I going with this? I don't know. I do know that this year isn't going to be just about gifts. I will get some, of course, for the people whom I wish to acknowledge in that manner - or am so far away that I can't possibly tell them face-to-face (over the phone is even MORE awkward for me!). Things I specifically want to give to certain people that I love, and to co-workers whom I feel comfortable with. But I think the people I love will get something extra. A special card inside just telling them how special they really are to me.

No partriges. No pear trees. And most especially - NO LORDS A LEAPING!!!

It snowed buckets in the pacific northwest yesterday, according to Lea. I hope nobody got hit with a bucket. That would hurt.

Have a WONDERFUL day, folks - I'm outty.


Anonymous said...

I'm not buying anyone any presents. But I can tell you this.

I love you

You know, as a friend, so don't be taking it in any wrong ways. :-) Hugs.

Peacechick Mary said...

I was getting all serious thinking about your post and then the buckets! Ahhhhaaaa! The buckets!

Frederick said...

Greed and selfishness is a big issue in our culture today. I tackled it a bit in my post this morning.

Anonymous said...

We are really deep in the snow right now. A good six inches or more with more predicted for today and tonight. Washington State does not deal well with sonow.

As for gifts, I like giving gifts, though my list is pared back a lot from years ago when I have gifts to people I didn't much care about. I love to make things for people.

I seldom say I love you to anyone. Even those I do. I think the word is used too casually today. On the other hand, I have a personal issue with the sentiment itself. I believe in friendship type love, but I honestly believe the romantic kind is rarer than unicorns no matter what people say to the contrary.

We say I love you when we mean I want you or I am afraid to be lonely and you're not all that bad.

Sewmouse said...

Lea? I'm gonna try this one more time with you - although the Goddess only knows why, since you refuse to listen every time.

I agree with you - the definition of "romantic love" the way that you define it, does not exist. Not really. There is a period of ecstatic passion and lust that exists in most every positive, sexually oriented relationship, but that flares brightly, then dies down - not unlike the flare of the sulphur burning when you light a match.

But to deny that there is a sweet companionship possible - where two people live together, work toward the same goals, have sex when they both wanna, create a partnership - that's just the cynical and unhappy part of you talking, Hon.

I've SEEN those types of relationships. They are NOT without problems. EVERY relationship has problems. No two people are EVER going to be able to live together without SOME problems. But problems are not an automatic death-knell to a partnership arrangement.

With sex. Or without.

I too, have never, EVER seen a relationship that has the same starry-eyed, gooey, can't-keep-hands-off crap from a bad Harlequin novella that lasted for more than a short time. Again, it's like expecting kindling to warm the house. Impossible. Burns too hot, too fast, and consumes itself without something more substantial to hold the heat once the initial conflagration is over.

But I HAVE seen loving, caring, long-term (50+ years in the case of my parents!, Over 25 for Susan and Brad) relationships that have had their share of problems, but both people were motivated and devoted to working on solving those problems.

Saying that this doesn't exist is wrong, Lea. It does exist. It continues to exist. You haven't found it, but then you won't take any steps to look for it, so that's kind of a given.

And understand - if you won't work to find it, you will NEVER find it. Your choice not to work at it is your choice, and I accept that, but don't blame the men for that - it's YOUR choice not to participate.

BBC, I love ya too, Hon. And not in the "gimme your hot self" kinda way either. Just keep reading, Hon - you'll get your answers eventually that way. Or e-mail your questions to *laughs* I promise not to lie, but I might could tapdance some more.

Watch out for the buckets, Mary!!

Frederick? I'll go read shortly.

Anonymous said...

I don't think about sex with you. Hell, I don't even know what you look like and sex is a visual thing as much as anything else. Hugs.

Sewmouse said...

you have no idea how comforting I find that, BBC

I have enough trouble dealing with those who DO.

betmo said...

you know- i was just talking with another blog buddy about social skills. perhaps you are on to something. i have noticed that folks don't know how to communicate with other folks- hence letters to advice columns, divorce rates, juvenile delinquents and so on... perhaps this goes hand in hand with the materialism. i had chalked it up to folks having more money in this country than sense. i live in a small upstate city in new york with about 45,000 people. in the newspaper- it told about this man who spent $700 to get a spot in line outside of circuit city to spend an additional $600 on a playstation 3. no deaths or riots occurred here that i am aware of- but really- $1300? more money than sense.

betmo said...

as to romantic love versus long term love- not to intrude but there is scientific proof that romance can't be sustained. endorphins and such. perhaps that is why the divorce rate is so high in this country. we are a nation of 'feel gooders'- we medicate, self-medicate, and look for thrills. i have been married to the same man for 9 years and been with him for almost 14. i pick up his dirty socks and iron his shirts and he takes out my garbage and sees me before i brush my teeth in the morning. not terribly romantic but we say i love you multiple times a day and mean it. i don't say it if i don't mean it- family members included. perhaps we, as a nation, need to scratch beneath the superficial surface and start exploring what real feelings are and stop trying to replace them with consumer goods and endorphin rushes.

Anonymous said...

That isn't to say that I might not tease you some though. :-)

Croila said...

Don't you think, though, that it's possible to buy someone a decent present that actually SHOWS the esteem you hold that person in? Like, something that you've put loads and loads of thought into, or even effort if it's homemade/handmade or was very hard to track down?

I don't think you need words to show what you feel about someone. Crikey, in my family we have NEVER EVER EVER said "I love you" - NEVER I tell you! We're Highlanders! - but in a million other ways it's just so obvious.

I think present-buying is part of that as we all put a lot of thought and effort into getting something the person will really dig. Even the act of spending quite a lot of money on a present conveys the right message, because if you don't actually HAVE a lot of money, a really decent present shows that you've saved up and gone short yourself in order to get hold of something the present-receiver will really love.

I don't want any lords a-leaping, but I wouldn't mind some pipers piping! ;-)