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Founding a father: What I want for Christmas

Monday, December 17, 2012

By the time you will be reading this, your bruises and aching bones from Black Friday shopping should be healed and you’ll be making plans on heading back out to the mall. Christmas is in the air … that or it’s another gas leak in the city?
Christmas is only about two weeks away. Hard to believe, considering major retailers start their Christmas’ the Tuesday after Labor Day. This holiday season we have once again punched, pummeled and fought our neighbors for $200 off of a 60” LED television, braved the parking lot at the Berkshire Mall, given the Internet our credit card numbers; and we did so all in the name of stuff. Stuff we got with our blood, sweat, tears and cash advances on our credit cards.
But when does the giving become too much (hint: if you have to clean blood off of the X-Box Kinect box you fought for, it’s too much). Most of us, including yours truly, have fallen for the hype from corporate retailers. I thought Christmas meant having to wade through a river of presents. The more the better.
I was wrong.
Christmas is stressful enough without having to worry about if there areenough presents under the tree, not to mention how you’re going to be able to pay for them all. Which is why, in recent years, I have begun to defy the will of major retail chains and whittle away at the size of the piles. My kids still hand me their Wish Lists that make ‘War & Peace’ look like a sonnet but my wife and I have picked a few items and ignored the rest. What did we find? Our kids have been happier and more grateful with what they get and less likely to disregard something to open the “next thing.”
It is in the spirit of remembering what Christmas should be about: family, friends, smiling more, eating a lot more, enduring endless loops of Mathis, Cuomo, and Williams, holiday cheer, virgin births and alleviating the stress of stuff, I present you all with a challenge.
Four presents for Christmas. No more. No less. The four presents should be:
Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read.
It would be difficult for sure. And although this year my family and I probably won’t do it, we are working towards it. But if we were to do it, I would ask for: To have some of my old comics bound into a book, a new pair of shoes for work, new ties, and anything written by Erma Bombeck or Robert Fulghum.
Do you think you could do it? It wouldn’t be easy but I bet if we all took part, it would be a lot easier to remember and enjoy why we celebrate in the first place.
I would love to hear from anyone who did do it and what your four things were (even if you didn’t do it)? Email me at and maybe I’ll put them in the next column.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone.