catapult magazine

catapult magazine


Giving in the Spirit


Dec 07 2004
05:56 pm

1. Get children what you know they really want. They’ll love you for it and you might have a subsequent chance later in their lives to be a guiding influence.

2. In addition to getting them what they’d really like, also throw in something that you think they’d like – those art supplies, that book, etc. The kids will see it as a bonus and you can soothe your conscience.

3. To prevent the reception of unwanted or less-than-socially-just gifts, cut relatives off at the pass two months before Christmas. Tell all relatives from whom you usually receive gifts that you would prefer donations to specific charities in your name. OR, should you get gifts you don’t want, donate them.

4. As for gifts for adults, get them whatever you want. They’re old enough to handle it.

A personal anecdote that this article brought to mind:

This year I coordinated my church’s participation in the Angel Tree Project, which helps imprisoned parents buy gifts for their children – i.e. volunteers generously buy the gifts and give them to the kids in the parents’ names. Parents have input into what they’d like their children to receive and guardians clue us in to what the kids could really use or want. Gifts can cost no more than $20.

For some reason, many of our gift requests were for CD walkmans. Could these be purchased for $20? Sure! At WalMart.

My church contains a high number of people so socially-conscious they make PETA look like a fast-food magnate. One older lady ended up with a gift request for a CD walkman. I helpfully told her that they could, INDEED, be bought for $20 at discount stores like WalMart, just an FYI in case it started to turn into a wild goose chase. She looked at me and said – quite stonily – “I don’t shop at WalMart.”

Some people always have to be making a point.

The point of the program is not to interject our opinions and economic philosophies into this facilitation between imprisoned parent and child. It’s important to spend the same amount of money on each child – no more, no less. Many of them are siblings and many of them wanted the same things, i.e. the CD walkmans. I don’t know where this woman plans to find an inexpensive CD walkman, but it better not be nicer than the one his sister is getting or it’s the imprisoned parent who the kids will think favors one child over the other and then we’ve added hurt feelings to their Christmas.