Anne Frank, 15-year-old Jewish victim of the Holocaust, said, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”
“Here’s my gift-giving rule: Respect your current financial situation,” says Suze Orman, personal financial adviser.
Sounding quite opposite, there is actually much truth in both quotes.
Anne Frank most likely was referring to giving of oneself in acts of service, such as the “helpers,” including Miep Gies, who took care of the Frank family while in hiding from the Gestapo. Anne wrote in her now famous diary, “Miep is just like a pack mule, she fetches and carries so much. Almost every day she manages to get hold of some vegetables for us brings everything in shopping bags on her bicycle [sic].”
In our modern day of excess in so many arenas, Orman’s advice reflects wisdom in not forgetting your financial situation when purchasing gifts.
I’m talking about gift-giving here because the biggest shopping season of the year approaches. I was not personally raised with holiday gift-giving, so as a 40-year-old, I was somewhat aghast when I first saw excessive spending and showering of presents that occurred in some homes. One affluent family I knew had an only child and each year filled an entire room with her expensive presents.
The first time I saw the room, I was reminded of The Berenstain Bears children’s books; in particular, the “Too Much” series: Too Much TV, Too Much Vacation, Too Much Junk Food, Too Much Noise, Too Much Trick or Treat. In the books, Mama and Papa Bear teach Brother and Sister Bear life values. There is not a “Too Much Christmas” book, but with a positive twist in “The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving,” the cubs learn about the joy of giving to others, not just getting for themselves.
I was impressed with Len Baublitz’s cartoon in this paper last week. He depicted a disgruntled Prime package sneering at recognizable items made here in the Methow. “Supply chain issues? Why not make Methow Prime?” In that vein, I thought about all the local artisans who will once again not have the bazaar opportunities this year to sell their wares at the Winthrop Barn and Methow Valley Community Center. Still, Methow Made products are available at numerous business outlets in the valley. Remember these vendors when making your list.
Also, bigger, better, shinier is not always necessary. The Senior Center Thrift Store, commonly known as the Rummage Room, will open its Christmas Room on Nov. 20. Every year, the room is filled with reusable items and many gift ideas that are “new-in-box.” A near neighbor in Twisp, The Thrifty Fox, also offers up unique and fun items for gifting. The Free Libraries in Twisp, Winthrop and Mazama frequently have current good reads that are in excellent condition. Poke your head in and check out the titles when in the neighborhoods.
As my mom aged, she always said, “I don’t need any more stuff.” She was trying to get rid of the stuff she had. I was reminded of a Message to Adult Kids that I read in answer to “What do you want for Christmas?”
“I want you to keep coming around/I want you to ask me questions/Ask my advice/Ask for my opinion/Ask for my help/I want you to come over and rant about your problems/Rant about life/Whatever/Tell me about your job/Your worries/Your classes/Come over and laugh with me/Or laugh at me/I don’t care/Hearing you laugh is music to my ears/I want you to continue sharing your life with me.”
Balance, my friends, balance in all things.