The Day Before Christmas:
Last night, all my resolutions of not giving into the pressure, vanished. The deadline was becoming near, and there was no escaping. Twenty three family members were going to be present at our Christmas Eve dinner tonight, and I was not going to let them down with no gifts. 11pm, and I was still working on a list. The years before had been easy. This time, the looming reality of global warming added a new level of complexity.
In the end, I decided to hold a White Elephant party after dinner. This way, everybody would have a ‘gift’. For the children and close family members, I went out this morning and got green gifts to please my green conscience: massage certificates, recycled Patagonia fleece top, Ugg slippers, leather gloves, wool scarves, sweaters, gift certificates for iTunes and books at Borders. For all the women, I got ceramic Peace pendants from a local artisan.
Hardly any cars in the streets. I wondered why for a second. Prad reminded me that all the stores were closed. All of America was staying home to celebrate Christmas with their families.
Flashback to my youth, back in France. When each Sunday was just like today. A day when all the stores were closed, except for bakeries and pastry shops. Sunday was a day for the family to gather around the kitchen table, and enjoy a sumptuous lunch that my mother had prepared. Followed by a long walk to help us digest all that rich food.
Sure, it was a pain sometimes. We had to plan and make sure we were all set for Sunday. Otherwise we would have to make do with what we had. Or we would go borrow from our neighbors.
Back to the house, I overhear the children bitching, that ‘Everything is closed. That sucks. I want to shop.‘
The Day After Christmas:
Time to return presents. One of my relatives thought I would like a multicolored purse from Talbot’s. The thing is still in its box, half wrapped into its original plastic, and with its tag on. I can’t wait to dispose of it. It will not let it sit on my dresser one day longer.
The cars are back in the streets, and the mall’s parking lot. Transporting hordes of shoppers, anxious to catch the best After Christmas sales.
I feel almost relieved from this Not So Green Exposure. Life is back to normal, and there is something strangely comforting about this flurry of activity.
Talbot’s would not give me money back. Instead, I got a store credit. $33. I walked out happy from feeling so light. Better a tiny gift card than a big ugly bag.