Tuesday, January 04, 2005so, i did not give Christmas gifts this year. maybe it was selfishness, a refusal to participate in a tradition that contributes to the exploitation of people who work in the factories that make most "gift" items. Maybe it was laziness. Mostly it was laziness: i could have planned ahead and made things at home for people, like my sister did.
In fact I did make something: cards. This was my equal opportunity gift: a handmade rubber stamp which i designed and carved and inked and printed on some lovely rough-textured card stock painstakingly selected at the craft shop. They were humble yet carefully made, something you could either treasure or toss, depending on your preferences and sensibilities. I'm sure that most people will discard them eventually.
But that's sort of the point! Even though i didn't make the paper or inks, the point was to add a tiny decorative message to the festivities, not to give people a precious gift to keep forever. All of this is not to defend my choice to opt out of Christmas: I disappointed my family by not traveling home to see them, and I feel terrible that i did so. But the ephemera i did contribute are not to be overlooked! Maybe next year i will sell the cards. Maybe next year i will make the paper at home, maybe i will grind my own inks. Dig in my heels and insist that EVERYTHING worth celebrating is ephemeral: birds in the air, anniversaries, newborns, new jobs, happiness. It all changes. Tracking these changes is part of gift giving for me, leaving a trace or residue of what came before in the most humble and cared-for way possible.
i don't know if this is making any sense. but every day is a holiday for me--and the gifts are plentiful. i see no need to pile objects on top of the heap.