so it's christmas. while i ponder how many times i will watch "a christmas story" this year (1 of the greatest seasonal movies of all time, imho), this is also the time of year when most americans head to malls, stores & websites to purchase gifts for family & friends. while on the surface people view this as the "season of giving", i've started looking at it from the big picture. it seems to me it boils down to a lot of people getting other people stuff, but then getting generally the same amount of stuff in return...all within the same couple of days. so it's as if, in reality, we buy our own gifts but in a round-about manner. maybe i'm looking at this wrong. but if this is going to truely be the season of giving, shouldn't we just give and not get or expect anything in return? don't get me wrong, i can suffer from this sort of selfish/materialistic mindset, but i wonder if we should start straying away from this kind of gift giving. perhaps focusing more on giving to the less fortunate, maybe simply giving roughly the amount we would have spent on gifts anyway? it seems to me that this would help our local communities immensely. pick a charity & give. even if that "charity" is a family member or friend who has fallen on hard times. in the true spirit of christmas, with the celebration of christ's birth and all that it means, i think that would be more appropriate.