The Real Reason For The Season

Nov 23, 2012 - 1:21 AM
The reason for the season is friends and family, not Black Friday bargains.

Sometimes I have an idea for a blog, and I start it, and it just isn’t going very well, so I table it and come back to it. A few days ago I started a blog on holiday gift recommendations for horse professionals, and I tabled it, because I couldn’t get the opening paragraph right.

It was filled with bad writing (not abnormal for me, especially when I’m writing at 4:30 a.m.), but it also wasn’t accomplishing the goal I wanted it to: to state that the greatest gift you can give a horse professional is your ongoing business, that we don’t do this for the goodies and gift baskets but for the love of helping you and your horse. I couldn’t get it right, so I hit “save” and decided to come back to it on Thanksgiving, while my bird was roasting.

Over the last few days, I’ve really struggled. TV, radio, signage around town. “Buy now!” “Deals, deals, deals!” “Black Friday DOORBUSTERS! Doors open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, because it’s never too soon to start buying stuff!” It’s nothing new, but for whatever reason, this year, I’m particularly disgusted.

I know that we here in the States are a consumer culture, one that finds joy in the accumulation of stuff. But really? Really?? Is the need for goods so great that we can’t even wait until after the L-tryptophan comas have worn off to start buying more? I’ve never found it all more distasteful.

I’m grateful for the consumer spending indices on the rise, for the slowly-but-surely recovering economy. I’m grateful for things like Small Business Saturday, where American Express offers incentives to support small business owners in the community. I’m grateful for the laptop I’ve bought, so I can write this blog, and others, and hit “save” and think about it for a while. I’m grateful to Al Gore for inventing the Internet (hardy harr), and to the Chronicle for letting me come here and speak my mind.

I’m thankful for so, so much. Mostly, I’m glad that because of my students, I’ve managed to turn my hobby into a job, a job that is profitable enough that I could sit down with seven friends for a dinner we made in the comfort of a beautiful home, and not talk for one minute about the stuff we wanted, but rather talk of the things for which we feel blessed.

I’m going to keep tinkering with the blog on holiday gifts. You’ll probably see it tomorrow. And the opening paragraph (and beyond) may or may not contain any good writing. I just hope that it doesn’t come off as a list of skewed priorities. The reason for the season, as it were, is the family and friends we cherish, and a celebration of that love and community. The greatest gift of all is the people in our lives, both two-legged and four-legged, and there’s no price on that.


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