Happy Holidays

[This entry will stay on top until 051225.]
I’ve been something of a Scrooge about Christmas for a long time — I’m not Christian and rampant materialism squicks me (yeah yeah, why’d I move to America?–It’s not all McDonalds and reality TV over here, you know), so there’s not much left but family time, and I don’t need Hallmark to tell me how or when to enjoy that. Also, I like giving people presents but I’ve never really liked getting them — it always makes me feel weird in a way I can’t explain — so I’ve pretty much weaned everyone I know off the whole Christmas deal, apart from a few comforting family rituals with my Mum and Dad. Bah humbug, you know?
Have you ever noticed how it’s usually people who have plenty of stuff who feel this way? At least, I guess, I have some sense of ‘enough’. The spousal unit, though, knows from hardship in a way most Westerners only guess at. (You think you’re tough? You ain’t tough.) Which makes it a minor miracle of human potential when Cat looks at our cozy middle class lifestyle and says “That’s plenty, let’s give the extra away”. (You think you’re cool? You ain’t cool.)
All of which is by way of introducing Cat’s Christmas message this year. I can’t put it better so I’m just gonna steal it:

Dear Everybody Who Buys Stuff For Us:
We know we’re hard to buy for. We know we don’t help you much with this. We’re not into “stuff”, and we have everything we need.
One thing we do love is our city, Portland, Oregon. We’re committed to making it a better place, and support local charities that help people who aren’t as fortunate as we are. This Christmas, we’d like to be a little selfish and ask you to support our local charities, too.
See, I haven’t always been where I am today. I grew up on government cheese and second-hand clothes. I’ve accepted the holiday turkey from the food bank with gratitude. I’ve hoarded canned food during good times, to get through the lean times. But here I am, happily married, a home of my own, living in plenty. I made it, and others can, too. They just need a little help. How ’bout it?
If you’re on board, please check out our givelist at What Goes Around.org. It’s an easy way to give to one of our three favorite charitable organizations, Sisters of the Road Cafe, Central City Concern, and the Oregon Food Bank.
Thanks, and have a wonderful holiday.
Cat and Bill

What we both want, far more than anything more for ourselves, is for everyone to have what they need. So if you were thinking of buying me something, that’s what I’d like.