A Small Defense of Stuff

Christmas presentsIt’s that time of year again. My Facebook feed is filling up with friends who are gleefully and gladly announcing their liberation from the cunning clutches of Christmas commercialism and consumerism. (Today is obviously alliteration day in the old writing studio.) They congratulate each other on having left the misguided mob who is blindly following the siren song of buying useless stuff for people who are buying useless stuff for them. They enjoy the company of other enlightened souls who have vowed to buy no presents that don’t involve baby goats in a third world country.

Or maybe I’m a tad sensitive.

To be clear, I love it when people give socially conscious gifts. Its a wonderful system to do real good. But I have a confession to make.

I like Christmas shopping.

There, I’ve said it.

To be clear, I don’t go into debt. I don’t buy a gift until I have the money for it and I have a budget that’s respectful of my own budget. I don’t blindly buy stuff that’s just going to collect dust until the statute of limitations expires and it can be donated to Goodwill (at least, I hope not.) But I love Christmas shopping. It brings me joy.

I haven’t taken the love languages inventory but I suspect that gift giving may be one of mine. It’s a way of acknowledging my connection with each family member. I enjoy thinking about their unique selves, what they like and how they live. It gives me pleasure to think of their pleasure in opening it.

So when you’re writing your sermons on stuff, I hope you’ll take the time to consider that, like most things, it’s not all good or all bad. It may be a mindless waste of resources and an affront to the message of Christmas.

But sometimes, for some of us, it’s the way our hearts take tangible shape in the lives of the people whom we love.