Monday, December 11, 2006

Holiday Time: The best thing ever to happen to consumer capitalism

Well, with plenty of deadlines now quickly approaching, my (26 years of steadily decreasing) excitement over the holiday season is starting to dwindle. Rapidly shifting from enthusiasm to anxiety, the middle of December marks the time when my "Oh $@&$ what am I supposed to do first?" sends me into stress-world in quite a hurry.

This year, although I'm still feeling overwhelmed by the ever-growing number of items on my to-do list, I'm definitely on track for that Dec 24 deadline. Several new ideas for the holidays have been partially responsible for the fact that I'm actually taking the time on this Monday morning to post here (as opposed to the typical pacing I would be doing, until my floor cries out for mercy as I steadily wear down the path that marks my track).

First, I have "gotten off the hook" with 4 presents due to an “adopt a child for the holiday” program that my son's school district is sponsoring/coordinating. The hardest people on my list to buy for, partially make up this group of 4, who have generously offered to help with the effort to "be Santa" for approximately 4 (as of my last could be higher now) children. Therefore, they will not receive gifts from my partner and I this year, and instead I will be shopping for our "philanthropic adoptees" (as I've been enjoying calling them).

As glad as I am to be free from shopping for these kids (plus I'm well aware of the obvious ease of shopping for someone with nothing compared with shopping for someone who has everything---or could buy anything s/he wants, whenever s/he wants it), I'm faced with a little dilemma related to my "adopted" kids' wish lists. Do I show the same judgment (age-appropriate, avoiding gender-stereotyped gifts) that I try to employ when I shop for my son, or one of his friends (birthdays, etc)? In other words, I'd like some help with my current problem, which is whether a 6 year old who wants (let's say for the sake of the question) an iPod, be given an iPod. I don't want to reinforce the social pressures that make being different in my area horrifically difficult, but I also don't want to impose my parenting/political-economic beliefs on kids who are not really comparable to my own son in most ways. Should a munchkin ever get an iPod? I'm actually leaning toward buying it (even though it goes against most of my ideals). If a child may never have a chance to get one otherwise, shouldn't s/he have at least one awesome holiday-present-opening-extravaganza?

Let me know what you think...

Off to shower and shop (more) and find a cute dress...I still have my partner's company Xmas party to attend tonight (joy!).