December 16, 2007, 11:33 pm - James FarrerThe holiday season has a way of making people think and reflect. That is when they aren't running themselves ragged anyway. With little money to spend shopping or otherwise I have found myself thinking a bit about how I'm keeping with the holiday season. I have been enjoying Christmas music, both at work (I have my own office now so I can put music on) and at home. We have had a few family home evening lessons about why we celebrate Christmas and reading the Forgotten Carols (a good book with music that goes along). We even drove down to Temple Square in Salt Lake to see the Christmas lights that they put up. It's quite an amazing display. I especially enjoyed trying to take pictures of the lights. We'll see if anything turned out really well. It would be easier to either see the lights with family or take pictures, but both provides a challenge. I still enjoyed it though. All in all, it's been a good season so far. I think overall I am just not one to get overly excited about anything. I suppose that is both blessing and a curse. But that's a topic for another time.
I read a blog of a friend of Shauna's about Christmas goodies from/for neighbors and it's had my mind going. Since we got some tonight I thought I'd put my own two cents in. So for what it's worth, I think it is a sweet but ironic tradition. I truly believe treat giving started as an honest gift to a neighbor and in most cases remains that today. The ironic part in my mind has to do with the social pressure that comes from such gifts. i think it may be worse in the predominantly Mormon neighborhoods that I've always lived in, we seem to always know our neighbors more than in some neighborhoods. But then again, I haven't been in any other neighborhoods to really have much experience. Regardless, there seems to come with such goodies a great deal of obligation. I like to give goodies and I like to receive them as well, but sometimes, especially with the limited resources at my disposal, this seems like a great deal of burden which dampens the giving and receiving a bit.
For example. When our neighbors give us a plate of cookies it creates an implied (or is imagined a better term for it) obligation to return the favor. To receive a gift without returning the favor would seem ungrateful, would it not? And then there's the task of keeping track of who to give them to. We need to give them to friends, neighbors, and the more challenging list of those who give them to us when they may not necessarily fit into the other two categories. While this is usually not because we don't like them, in fact it is more a matter of limited supply, it adds an extra bit of stress to whole process.
Another interesting aspect of this whole goodies giving business involves actually eating them. Both sampling those that you make to give away and then those that you receive. The blog I read about these goodies talks about the less desirable plates that are sometimes received. Overall, I find the selection tasty and colorful. But the whole business over the bigger pictures contributes a large amount to the nations obesity epidemic I am sure. But it's only once a year right? Either way, I don't think it will lessen the amount I will eat, but it can be a scary thought if you think about it too long (not recommended, try something more construction, like learning about Bernoulli's principle and how it applies in your day to day activities. OK, I know I'm a geek, but at least I enjoy it).
I don't know that I really have a point to writing all of this other than it has occupied a disproportional amount of thoughts. So whether you plan to give for the sake of giving, succumb to the social pressures of reciprocal giving, or just have an over abundance of goodies in the kitchen right now. I hope you enjoy activities.