You really don’t need another candle.
Or a Miracle Chopper. Or a pair of Jeaneeze that promise to hug one’s ample assets in true Kardashian fashion. (All about that bass, that bass — but that’s a whole other post.)
No, you don’t need a No! No! Pro Hair Remover or Uncle Si Chia Pet or a Comfort Gel Toilet Seat. You don’t even need the Bacon Bowl.
In truth, you don’t need another designer handbag to flaunt at the Ladies Who Lunch fete. You don’t need a new pair of Kicks, another trinket or tchotchke, or something to cram the closet or burden the bookshelves. In truth, most of us don’t need much this holiday season. As Americans, most of us really are living The Dream in all its excess and gluttony. We are fortunate to dwell in this golden land of plenty where we have much, much more than roofs over our heads, food on our tables, and money in our pockets — or at least high credit limits on our charge cards.
Alas, this holiday season, I am not buying you another candle.
I am not rushing, store to store, scanning displays for something you might use, need or want. At Thanksgiving, I did not wait in line until the stores Open! Open! Open! I did not elbow shoppers out-of-the-way for the $9 Crockpot or to snatch the last Ove Glove. I am not watching Infomercials for inspiration or dog-earring catalog pages so I can order during limited-time free shipping. This year, I am just not buying it.
I’m sorry if you feel slighted, but I just can’t do it. This holiday — this Christmas — means much more than checking names off the list in a frenzied haze of hurried shopping.
Like Ebenezer, I think back on Christmases past; seasons when I rushed and ran and worried and wrapped and over thought and overspent. I had the misguided notion that I had to find the best, the brightest, the most unusual, the most lavish, the most something, the most anything. I drank the holiday Kool-Aid, and tried to not only keep up with the Joneses, but the Jerry Joneses. I had to find some gift worthy of You. I wanted my gifts to wow, inspire, make you giggle, make you happy. I wanted my gifts to mean something. Through my gifting, I wanted you to like me, to really like me!
In my misguided attempts to find gifts to make you notice, tolerate, love me, make me your new BFF, awesome co-worker, terrific neighbor – I missed the whole point. I missed it all.
This year, I have learned — finally — that the true gifts, the real ones, the priceless presents, can not be bought with coupons or Groupons or on the Chinese Internet. They are not found in stores or stashed inside shiny boxes and bags. I have learned — finally — that the real treasures simply can not be bought — even with three easy payments of $19.95. (Does not include shipping and handling.)
This year, I will not buy you another candle that may sit on your coffee table until the clutter is cleared and it winds up in the Goodwill Donation Box.
This year has brought many changes to my life and has made me less concerned with the superficial and the fleeting. I just can’t get excited about HD Vision Glasses or The Pocket Hose. As I watch age and disease claim my mom, a day at a time, I think of her house, crammed with a lifetime of things — presents never used, gifts never taken out of the boxes. Yellowed tags dangle on items saved, but never enjoyed. Soon, we will start the dubious, heartbreaking task of carting away her life, lamp by lamp, dish by dish, picture frame by picture frame. My mom’s household — her many things — no longer matter. They are cold and sterile, dusty and lifeless. What matters now is the gift of time with this woman who gave me breath.
These days, I sit across the table from my mom, sip coffee and watch the leaves fall outside the kitchen window. We keep an eye out for Charlie, our neighborhood squirrel that robs the bird feeder, making my mom laugh. I savor my mom’s childlike glee as she timidly nibbles a just-baked Brownie. I hold her hand and rub lotion on the wise and wrinkled skin, grateful to feel her strength as she squeezes back. I catch the love in her eyes when I tuck her in bed each night.
These days, I marvel at the smallest things; Take pleasure in a million tiny moments: A quiet dinner with my husband; Lunch with friends; Listening to my daughter chatter from the next room; My mom dozing peacefully in her chair, me drifting into the pillowy softness of a luxurious nap. Little things I used to take for granted are priceless now.
This year, I just can’t buy you another candle, my friend. It all seems a little silly and superficial to say with things what I need to say with my heart.
This year, I share with you a few of my favorite gifts — these million tiny moments that mean more to me than anything Amazon Prime might offer. Please accept my wishes that your holiday is full of the simplest pleasures of A Wonderful Life: A steamy mug of coffee on a sleepy morning; a perfect seashell; a box of memories; a golden sunrise; a child’s drawing on the refrigerator; the purr of a curled-up kitten; bubble baths and butterfly wings: a card; a kiss; a love letter; a hug; a belly laugh; a good cry; the magic of a rainbow; a phone date with an old friend; art; music; a performance so lovely it makes you weep; a hand to hold in a hospital waiting room; a new box of Crayons; homemade ice cream on a blistering day; a crackling fire and a good book; doggy kisses; someone to sit at your bedside and stroke your hair; the love of family and friends.
This year, I offer you, humbly, peace and love and simple joys. I hope you indulge in life’s true pleasures, find meaning in every-day blessings instead of being blinded by bling and designer logos and flash and cash. This year, I hope you and your families share Christmas and the magic of this season glitters your New Year with blessings and abundance.
As you are shopping and checking off your own gift list, please remember that sometimes a kind word, a smile, a phone call, a surprise visit, a hug, mean much more than that Cashmere sweater or the $100 bottle of wine. Sometimes, sipping tea with a friend or opening a handwritten letter from across the miles means the most. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
This year, I wish for you all that makes you happy, all that brings you joy. I wish for you a million tiny moments to make your heart sing. I just can’t buy you another candle. Not this year. Not now.
If it will make you happy, maybe the Bacon Bowl… Maybe. Just maybe.
A million tiny moments in a Bacon Bowl.
My wish. My gift. My Christmas.