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Say What?

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Wouldn't it be nice for a change if people asked you this year, "whatcha give?" instead of "whatcha get?"

Essayists throughout the Christian world have been writing about the true meaning of Christmas for years. And there have always been many comments on Opinion and Editorial pages about how the holiday is celebrated. There are a few who think there is too much Christianity, which seems odd in a predominantly Christian nation. And there are some who think THE tree is not a good sign.

In this relatively new age of diversity I guess some folks can’t leave things be. Some consider it to be enlightened to express an opinion that runs counter to the prevailing or majority view. Personally, I don’t care what Christmas means to anyone else as long as the idea is to encourage a higher regard for each other. A more peaceful life would be nice. If it’s the season to remember, let us do just that.

I am afraid that instead of renewing one’s faith we have transformed the last months of the year into a commercial extravaganza. When the Christmas sales begin before Thanksgiving it becomes apparent that gifting and all it involves is what Christmas is really all about. This year even more so. The economy really needs your help.  

The Christ child, the manger and all that is just window dressing. What is important is that the credit card is ready and able to preform and/or there is some accumulated cash because the meaning of Christmas has become, “Whatcha get?”

The warm and fuzzy images created by Bing Crosby and those popular Christmas songs seem to really be to reinforce what Santa is bringing on his sleigh tonight. The days when Grandpa worked his fingers to the bone creating a masterpiece in his shop, with his own hands, has been replaced by standing in a line outside Toys-R-Us. There is no substitute for a hyped-up doll created in China by an unknown. Of course, let us not forget the latest electronic wonder creating a demand for Sunday morning batteries. And who is to be denied a new game?

So what is the happy greeting...”Whatcha get?”

Now before someone thinks this piece has ben taken from Scrooge’s book, without attribution, let’s be clear that it’s better to give than receive and there is joy in giving. I just don’t like that the whole idea is being exploited earlier every year. There was a time when retailers waited until early December to start Christmas sales. Every year they seem to begin earlier. At the rate we are going, Thanksgiving is just going to get in the way of some truly  great promotions.

Of course, there is a certain pleasure in being the giftor only to be exceeded when you are the giftee. Unfortunately, with so much emphasis on the absolute need to gift, it inevitably follows that the consequences must be evaluated, compared and broadcast.

“Whatcha get?” is one way to stress that what is important about the holiday season (Christmas)  is how well you fared as a giftee. No one ever asks “What did you give?” Is that too personal, but what you managed to acquire isn’t?

And then there is the old saw “It’s the thought that counts.” Who ever thought that one up needs to get real. I remember years ago, when things were tough and I was just a kid. I was so disappointed one Christmas when I was given a brown, button-up sweater. In those days there was nothing wrong with clothes as a gift. Looking back, it was thoughtless to not have been pleased. I wish someone would have jerked my chain. Maybe that is what I am trying to do now.

I would like to see more emphasis on an exchange of regard for each other that can’t be measured. It would be a gift that keeps on giving to take the time to remind those who mean the most to you how important they are in your life. And since comparisons are odious, there isn’t any real need to see how much the gift is worth, or that anyone else in the neighborhood got one or that you are now the envy of all you know.

It is important to hope that no one in your gift chain is in hock for any time just so that you can tell others “whatcha got.” I wish that what your relatives feel for you is beyond measure and the check is just a token. And above all remember it is the spirit that counts. How you feel deep down inside your shirt is what it is all about. Try to be nice to everyone even when you are driving. A compliment can be a treasure beyond measure. A sincere greeting wrapped in a smile is real Christmas cheer.  Have a happy Christmas season.

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Paul Rechnitzer Paul Rechnitzer Transplanted 30 years ago, Paul is a retiree from the oil business who knows no other place he would rather live and breathe local history.

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