Friday, November 8, 2013

Christmas Shopping

Now that Halloween is over the Christmas gift catalogs begin arriving in the mail.  I opened one yesterday and noticed a men’s wristwatch for only $5,395.  My wife asked what does it do.  I told her that when you look at it, it tells you the time and the date.

Obviously this catalog came to the wrong house.  I wouldn’t dream of spending that kind of money on a wristwatch, but it got me thinking about perspective and moderation.

Wouldn’t it make more sense, and do more good, to spend only $395 on a very good watch and donate the other $5000 to the local food pantry, church or library?  That’s enough to pay almost a full semester for some struggling college student.  An anonymous gift of $5000 dropped into the bell ringer’s bucket at the mall next month would do a lot of good.  In fact, there are watches at Wal-Mart for not more than $25 that will reliably tell the time and date.  There is no way to make this gift not seem like an extravagance.  The old you’ve-earned-it or you-worked-hard-and-deserve-it or pamper-yourself sales pitches that seem to work so well on everything from sweets to massages to luxury vacations, don’t even seem to justify it.

I’m sure there are those who would think it natural to plunk down almost $6,000 (after tax) on a watch for themselves or for a loved one.  That makes me wonder.  What decisions, spending and otherwise, am I making that would seem outrageously frivolous to people less well off than myself?  That’s probably a good way to look at the whole issue of moderation and gratitude as they relate to perspective not just at Christmastime but every day.

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