Here in Magazine Land our holiday season starts early, with dozens of press releases and catalogs arriving as early as July, announcing that they contain exactly the perfect items to feature in our Holiday Gift Guide. Never mind that we don't actually do a holiday gift guide. Most of these perfect items have absolutely nothing to do with anything our readers would enjoy. Maybe I've read you wrong, but a motorized martini shaker just doesn't sound like you.
I find that as the years go by, there are fewer and fewer material items I truly yearn for. I wouldn't complain, mind you, if someone wanted to slip me an unlimited gift card for some of my favorite clothing sources. And having a new iPod and tons of tunes to download would be quite nice, as would a spankin' new laptop computer with all the bells and whistles. A new car. A place in the country. A vacation to ... .
I could go on and on. The Great Big List of Things is endless, and there's always something more to want. But, after all, it's all just stuff, and stuff by its very definition is material and limited: So is its appeal. Stuff is fun, but experience tells me it's rarely what makes the difference between our being happy or miserable. I remember a time in my life when I was certain the exact opposite was true and if I didn't get that particular Madame Alexander doll or that fuzzy pink sweater, I was going to up and die.
For many years now, I have viewed my children as the best gift I ever could have received. Now that they're grown and out of the house, I remain eternally grateful that they turned out splendidly, that all those horror stories I imagined as a single mother didn't befall us and that they've both found mates that are just right for them. On the Life's Best Gifts list, I scored big.
What I find myself wanting most these days is a world that will work for them and their progeny at least as well as it worked for me. I want an economy that provides them and the people with whom they share this planet sufficient material comfort that their lives can be about freedom and creative expression, rather than survival and suffering. I wish for sweet water, clear air and enough groceries to go around.
I worry about the society they're inheriting and about our poor, beleaguered Earth. So, when I boil my concerns and wishes down to their most concentrated form, I guess what I truly want is the simplest gift of all: Peace on Earth; Good Will to All.
And especially to you!
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