It used to feel good to give.
I made you mixed CDs and even cut out and made special covers, you gave me shoes and fancy thermometers.
I made you a table… and you gave me an alter.
You gave me stereos and anything else I asked for Christmas. It meant we had money and extra to go around and we felt good and right in the world looking at our Christmas tree with so much love wrapped up in boxes and bags and gift wrap purchased at Walmart made in a china shop over slave labor somewhere far away. It felt good…until I learned about what greater story we were participating in.
Last year Santa Clause stole my innocence. Or maybe it was NPR, or some blogger, or journalist, who checked the list and didn’t care if I was naughty or nice when they stole away the pleasure of giving at the holidays. Filled my stocking with guilt of white privilege, and thoughtless consumerism and a complexity wrapped up in wanting to show my love and receive another’s love without causing harm to some stranger on the their side of the planet it was easier not knowing about.
When you asked me what I wanted for Christmas last year I told you I didn’t need anything.
I answered a question you didn’t ask.
And while I got to feel better about myself for not requesting slave labor… it took the fun out of the game. This year when you asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I asked for something interactive that we could do together, so you bought me a purse that you also got me five years ago that I have been lugging around ever since because I can’t get rid of because you gave it to me but this one is red and that one was black and this one is better.
I just want to give to you in ways that will make you happy and remove all of the guilt that comes with living and loving in a consumer system designed to break down and destroy us now or in the future. I want to love you in ways that I can’t with this body, in ways that my words won’t, and so I give you a card, or a bike helmet, or something made by a stranger wrapped in paper made in china and flown across the world so you will see that I’ve gone the distance to show you I love you.