Gus is an almost 12-yr old German Shorthaired Pointer, who teaches me something every day (for the long version, read this ). This week, he’s been spreading holiday cheer by just being his doofy Gus self: hauling around sticks bigger than his head, stalking squirrels and cosying up to me on the dark chilly nights here in New England.
G-dog is oblivious to the Paris attacks, downed planes, level-4 terror threats, rampant domestic terrorism and the ugly xenophobia that is percolating and bubbling close to the surface here in the US. He’s blind to the infectious “want” that pervades at this time of year and is overjoyed equally at the prospect of an extra dog treat, a long walk in the woods or a giant smelly pile of something rancid (to roll or not to roll, that is the question).
While I’ve always been wary of the thing-filled culture that has evolved, each year I find myself more and more polarized and foreign-feeling here, on my own turf, in my own skin. There is that “I just got the greatest deal on the planet” endorphin rush that puts one in the buying (erm, holiday…) spirit. And there is that “I just made my friend some homemade herbal tea and sent it via airmail” feeling that warms much deeper and lasts longer than a quick chemical high. Each year, I gravitate more towards the things and actions that make people feel good vs. the stuff that fills an immediate want. Sometimes I’m paralysed by the options available.
It’s an anxious time, a somewhat precarious time and a wholly uneasy world to live in… and, bonus: we’re heading into what’s supposed to be a happy, carefree, joy- and wonder-filled season. I, for one, would like to hide under the bed until the dust settles. But that’s just me.
I can’t confess to a completely purchase-free season, however I make these assertions and pledge a new hashtag #lessstuffmorehumanity
- New traditions make indelible memories; a pile of “wants” are quickly forgotten
- Some of the best gifts are smiles, songs and handwritten notes (even better are ones hand-delivered)
- Take photographs, create memories, leave pieces of your heart, make friends…
- Share meals and stories with those around you
- Find similarities in others instead of differences
- Do what you can, from your heart, and it will be more meaningful than a giant thing which will take months to pay off
- Even the most meager gift has intrinsically more value when it is accompanied by the story of its origin
- Indulge in experiences, skimp on excess, hatch new plans
As I just texted a friend, “I’m trying to start a revolution, want to help?”
Oh, and happy holidays.