Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Secret Santa... the bane of Christmas

I've been very busy with Borders and the insane number of people that are shopping now. Every time I have a minute to do a blog, the amount I want to post is more than I have time to do... so... here's a short one.

My fellow employees started a Secret Santa thing at work. Every business does it. I guess it's because every business wants everyone to feel involved, and let's face it, there are some employees that you'd rather give Arsenic to rather than a gift of some sort. In my opinion, this type of gift giving is directly against the philosophies behind Christmas.

So here's why I declined to do Secret Santa and will never do it:

1) I'm usually broke, and so buying a gift for someone I probably don't know or whatever is pointless. I'd rather buy some penguin something for Bel whom I know will like it than buy some trinket of nothing that will probably get returned.

2) Buying a gift should be an act of thinking of a friend while buying it. There should be a process involved where you find a present, all the while thinking of that person, what he/she would like, and remembering all the good times you've had with him/her. Doing a Secret Santa thing negates all this. It basically says, you have to buy a gift for this person, but that person, in turn, will not know who you are. It's like a Reality TV show for Christmas. Why all the suspense? I like surprises just as much as anyone, but I don't want to have to worry about that while I'm trying to do my job.

3) Linda and Robin Williams (see post below) have a song called "The First Christmas Gift." In it, he basically says that God sent Jesus as the first Christmas Gift. The Lyrics near the end read:

"As we rush through crowded days on hurried shopping trips
As we credit card our way down our Yuletide lists
Let openhearted offerings celebrate the King of Kings
The Fount of Love sent from above
The First Christmas Gift."

I believe whole heartedly in this lyric. Why should I give a gift to someone because of a game? Giving a gift, in this way of thinking, is emulating the giving spirit in which God sent Jesus to Earth to die for our sins. It is part of the image in which he created us. God didn't have to send Jesus down to Earth. He wasn't told to do it, no one's name was drawn from a hat. The first Christmas Gift was given openly, generously, out of love and compassion. So should we give our gifts this Christmas.

This brings me to one final thing. All this week I have helped customers fulfill wish lists as if they were orders sent to the workers at Subway. I remember making the same lists. If I were those parents, I would gladly accept the lists, but I would use it a suggestion, not as precisely what they are getting for Christmas. This too eliminates the pure meaning of giving gifts at Christmastime. It is far more meaningful for me to hunt for a gift that I know is exactly what they want without them asking for it. We never asked for a savior, but God gave one anyway, because it's what we wanted, an escape from Death. It makes me feel good, thinking about the good times I've had with my friends while looking for gifts, or cards, or whatever. That is the true act of Christmas Shopping. Joy overcomes all the negativity and hustle and bustle that seems to ooze from customers. It makes the act of giving a joy, not a chore.

So while you are out shopping for your friends and loved ones, think about them, and buy whatever you think they will want with love in your heart, and with the idea that what you are doing is repeating, in some small way, what was done 2000 years ago in Bethlehem.

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