I am sure we have all seen it by now--the Facebook post to become part of a $10 holiday gift exchange--I have a seen it called a few different names, including a "less sexist" one that could easily include the guys. The first time we see it, it is exciting! "I can get stuff, 36 pieces of stuff, for just $10!! "YEAH STUFF!" our mind tells us because we have become a society of "stuff collectors" as somehow along the way "stuff" has become equal to "self worth".
Yes--I 1,000% admit it--I jumped in too! About two weeks ago a cousin in Florida posted a version and I had not seen this making the rounds and I jumped on board--I let my mind say "YEAH STUFF!" (or it was the second glass of wine making my decisions.) Then I got the private message with the directions, and I admit, I didn't quite understand the directions (remember, wine, and I am a light-weight). I read it again the next day. I understood a little better, but I did think that perhaps it was going to be a $60 investment--OK, it makes sense and I can handle that financially-I am blessed with a great job, I am good with money, but far more important than those reasonable, practical things, I am doing something nice for someone else--a concept that has no monetary value in my world these days.
And thought about it-that phrase "these days" "these days". It echoed in my head over and over along with "36 pieces of stuff"
HOLY COW-WHAT HAVE I DONE?
I don't want more "stuff! I don't need more "stuff"!
I have spent the last three years eliminating "stuff" from my life, and while it was painfully evident when I moved in May that I had perhaps allowed some "stuff" to creep back in, I am in a constant purge and merge mode. "Make life as simple as possible and cut the unnecessary clutter of 'stuff'" --heck--have you seen my hair lately?--I can't tell you when the last time was that it was straight! (Well, ok, truth be told, there was this time last week..., but I digress)
As I mulled over my seemingly poor decision, and more posts of similar subject scrolled through my Facebook feed daily, I thought about the investment in the gift exchange (and my brain still does not comprehend--is really just $10 or is it $60?, but it makes no difference). I thought about how very blessed my life is--a great job that allows me to work from home (often with crazy hair and dressed essentially to head to the gym or out for a run at a moment's notice), and provide comfortably for my family, an amazing significant other who loves me unconditionally to his core, an incredibly talented and intelligent daughter who is just as beautiful inside as she is outside, family and friends that know the "real me" and chose to love me anyway, which can be a challenge in itself some days! This is the "stuff" that I need. Not the "36 pieces" of random stuff that the gift exchange promises.
And then, as I often do, I thought about all of those who are not as blessed--jobless or have jobs that barely keep food in their children's mouths and warm, clean clothes on their backs. People that are in relationships that are not loving and caring they they don't know how to change or get out of. Parents that are estranged from children or those that are childless waiting for the chance to become a parent. Those with no real family or friends to love them and spend the holidays with. These are the people who need the resources that "36 pieces of stuff" can provide.
I am not looking for 6, 60 or even 600 people to join my Gift Exchange--I am hoping that just one of you will join me in opting out of the gift exchange and instead donate those funds--or even time, talent or other resources, to a local charity of your choice. Or better yet, if you know of a family or individual struggling this holiday season, find a way to secretly help them--perhaps a gift card sent through the mail or other discrete gesture.
And if I get 6,000 or 60,000 to join us--even better.