Holidays are over
So, the holidays are over… another year gone by. It was good though. December seemed like a blur, especially the last two weeks. Like everyone else I know, the holiday season becomes a combination of parties (family, friends, company and church), shopping and stress. My wife gets more stressed during the holidays than at any other time. It confuses me why society (our culture) has created such chaos during the holiday season.
One example of unnecessary stress comes from the social pressure to give gifts to everyone in the neighborhood (church community). Sure, these are usually small treats, but when you give to 50+ individuals/families it gets out of control. In addition, those little treats also must involve fancy wrapping/decoration and a cute note or saying attached. Then there’s the stress of making sure you don’t forget someone and the scramble to put one more together when you get a gift from someone to whom you weren’t planning on giving one.
Ah… the joys of the Holiday Season. Of course, it’s not all bad, I especially enjoy the time with family and friends. I suppose I need to change my attitude concerning the things that frustrate me. My wife sometimes calls me a scrooge when it comes to those things. Perhaps that should be a resolution for next year.
I tend to think the “gifts to everyone in the [ward]” is a peculiarly LDS phenomenon that ranks alongside “sending wedding reception invitations to every single person in every ward either member of the couple has ever attended”. Usually the latter phenomenon is just a way of increasing the wedding present count, imnsho.
I’m not averse to receiving nor giving gifts, but it lowers their value when everyone you know gets a one-size-fits-all basket of cookies, pastries, or other baked goods regardless of whether the giver could pick the recipients out of a lineup.
Incidentally, I wish members of the Church would get over the concept that leaving baked goods for a person is a sign of affection, friendship, fellowship, or worst of all “caring enough about a person to let them know that their inactivity is noticed”. 😉 Giving baked goods is the LDS equivalent of giving candles in the rest of the US. They are both thoughtless gifts that say to the giver: “We don’t know you well enough to give you something that speaks to your personality, but we don’t want to appear to be shlemiels.” Unfortunately, that’s exactly how it comes off.
I’m not sure that it always comes off like that, but more so it reflects that attitude of the receiver. Sure, some might think to themselves what you indicate, but others (who perhaps are more open to fellowship) might think it a nice jesture.
I suppose it really all comes down to the perspective of the receiver. If they lean toward pessimism, then they will view the gift in such a light.
I think Dan that people accept such gestures not because of an openness to fellowship, but rather an acceptance of the status quo. To those of us born and raised outside the Church (and I suppose to many within too), we see it as the actions of someone just ticking off names. If you’re not making some kind of effort to have the gift mean something to the person, then you’re not much different from any other marketer, whether it’s the calendar from the neighborhood gas station or the holiday ham from your local grocer. Here the sale is of the Church, its units, auxiliaries, or programs. It’s not per se unwelcome, but it is impersonal, even when it’s personalized, and it’s definitely a commercial act.
I tend to agree with Craig.
I mean there are gifts that those in your family give you, and those that are the basket of ham, etc.
Now, I am not against getting gifts, but does the basket of ham really mean all that much?
Kind of like the FTD/Hallmark holiday of Valentines? 🙂
They’re now way over, Dan. We’re parched – give us more blog! 🙂