Monday, December 24, 2007


Who gets more pleasure from gifts, the giver or the receiver? What are the webs that are being woven when presents are exchanged? If you give money to someone who lives on the streets, do you worry how it will be used? Do you give because "for the grace of God, there go I?" Or do you want the homeless man or woman to shape up, shed off that mental illness and to get a job? Do you worry that the money will be spent on booze or drugs?

Questions, questions, and perhaps not the most Christmassy ones at all. I was just thinking about the power giving gifts may convey to the giver (including divine givers such as Jesus), especially when the recipient is not part of the decision-making process. For instance, you could give your nasty in-laws a psychobabble book about how to get on better with people. It is a gift, of a sort, but it is also an insult and an accusation, all wrapped up with a tidy bow. Or you could give a friend a year's supply of deodorant, soap and toothpaste, and that friend might well wonder if he or she smells bad.

Ok. I'm not in the right mood at all. I started this post wanting to shed Christmas cheer and goodwill to all, but I end up picking on kindness as if it was a zit ready to be popped. Perhaps this is not just because I'm a bitter goddess whose worshipers consist of snakes but also because it is hard not overdose on materialism around this time of the year.

What I would really like to give to all of you and the world is peace and peace of mind. Clarity and that sweet, sweet sense of rightness. And love, of course. Lacking that, chocolate will do.