Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas in the Poorhouse

This holiday season many of us find ourselves in a quandry.  How do we celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, whatever with all its gift giving while in the midst of a lousy economy?  I don't care what your politics are, or who you think is to blame.  That's irrelevant.  Right now Christmas et al is looming.  Gifts are expected.  And many of us are broke, and worse, unemployed.

I've given this some thought.  My first thought is: why should the retail behemoths necessarily have to cash in?  Christmas has been celebrated for years before there were such things as Wal-Mart, Target etc.  They see this time of year as one big cash pinata.  They herd us in on Black Friday weekend, queuing up at ungodly hours to save money.  And by save money, I mean of course spend money.  It's enough to make a person jaded.

So this year, I have a proposal.  Maybe it will catch on, maybe not.  I don't really care; it's my way of making the holidays special for the folks I love without going broke, or spending the rent money on someone else's "must have gift".  Here's what I plan to give: myself.

See, I'm good with a few things.  I can fix busted computers.  I can cook a little.  I can clean.  I can wash a car or mow a lawn (come spring of course).  I can split firewood.  I can carry heavy things, reach tall things, and be useful in general to those who need that sort of thing.  I can put together things that require assembly.  I know a little about carpentry, a little about electricity, and a little about a lot of things.  I'm no polymath, more like a jack of all trades. 

So this year, I am offering, in lieu of gifts I can't afford, to give you something you really do need: a little help.  Because you're my friend, because you can't do it all on your own, I am giving you the one thing I can afford.  I will offer each friend one full day of my time, to help them out in whatever I can.  There is no need to pay me, no need to even thank me.  Just let me know when and where, and I'll be there. 

And if it's true what they say, that time is money, I'm giving you something valuable indeed.

Merry Christmas.

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