Friday, December 23, 2011

Santa and the Economy

Santa makes some Buddhists squirm a little bit, mostly because he is all about excess.  He is very big and very fat and very loud and carries a huge sack of wonderful gifts on a flying sleigh pulled by a whole herd of reindeer.

I saw a news feature about a sad-faced family with little kids.  They'd spent too much on the tree, so there was no choice but to go into debt to buy presents for their pre-schoolers.

Nonsense.  In my office I've got a 15-year-old Lego set, a Fisher-Price doll house from 1983, blank paper and a big cup of Crayolas, mostly broken.  Kids five and down are delighted to play with that stuff with an admiring and engaged adult, even a strange psychologist. Kids crave attention, participation, and a chance to interact.  When the admiring and engaged adult is a parent, it's magic.

Our commercial culture has somehow convinced moms and dads that their kids will be scarred for life if significant money isn't spent. For little kids, is just ain't so.  (Older kids will try to convince the parents that if they don't get what they want, it's child abuse. But they were little kids once, and the parents helped train them that way.)

Please don't go into debt to get presents. Use your time and your talent. You are the best gift your kids could ever get, and you are the gift they want.