catapult magazine

catapult magazine


Giving in the Spirit


Andrew H
Dec 07 2004
02:44 pm

I start by saying that I definitely share this struggle with Kirstin and have for the past few years. It was an important step for me a few years ago to have a conversation of sorts with my brothers and sisters about this and they gently expressed that they weren’t too interested in my “activist” giving and receiving. Interestingly, I am undergoing similar conversations and struggles this season as I live in community with 8 other individuals and we try to decide how to celebrate the holidays with our shared resources, gifts to each other or not, etc.

In both of these examples, I have established two ground rules for operating. First, these great “activist”/fair trade/humanitarian gifts are very worthwhile when both the giver and receiver are in agreement about their value and purpose. This deals with the danger of justification games I have played in my own mind, iee. if I donate to a good cause instead of buying a gift for that person, then I won’t give out of my own resources to that cause otherwise. Second, in cases where the giving and receiving parties may not be in agreement, I have chosen the avoidance of excess as my path of resistance. I am willing to pay more for a hand-crafted/locally crafted gift and give less actual gifts. I acknowledge this does not answer the question about gifts for young’ns – my one year old niece is a struggle this year – but I think most young people and adults can appreciate the focus on quality and hand-craftsmanship over quanity and wastefulness.

Those are some of my thoughts but I readily admit the ongoing struggle with so many other aspects: tree, decorations, sending paper cards all over creation, etc.

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