The Bright Blessing of Silly Stuff

This is how a Christmas tree looks when you have wrapped all the presents for nine kids, their two spouses and one grandchild …

I am completely certain that there is not one single item under this tree that any of these people actually needed to go on living. I know that I should be embarrassed for overdoing it. But I just can’t work up the will to feel guilty. Much as I keep suggesting that we voluntarily have one Christmas when we give away all the money we would have spent on presents, I never stick to my own resolve. I do give away the equivalent of what would have been a present, in the name of each one of the kids, to a fund or effort I support – my favorites being the Heifer Project, that provides families in developing countries a farm animal, such as a flock of hens or a goat, to help them both sustain their own lives and raise and make food to sell, and another the World Wildlife Fund, because, much as people insist that it’s an elitist thing to try to keep elephants healthy in the wild while people suffer in captivity, I think there is room in one life for both things, and I think a world with healthy elephants is better. I don’t have that much money. If you’re reading this, you have more money than I do. But what I do have, I can’t take with me when I go. if the worst thing I ever do in my life is give too many presents … well, I’m willing to answer for that egregiousness.

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