December 08, 2008

All I Want for Christmas

I'm apparently not the easiest person to shop for. By request, I have a wish list around somewhere, but I don't maintain it. My husband does, and come late summer or fall, he has to ask me what should be on it.

"Um, I don't know."

Yeah, I'm annoying. Mostly, though, I'm just not big on stuff. I already have too much. Even books, to which I'm thoroughly addicted, have overrun their allotted space and threaten to overrun their allotted time. If I'm going to add to my stuff, I'm usually very picky about what it is--not the frame of mind in which to receive gifts.

We hardly give gifts of stuff for Christmas anymore, except to the kids in the connection and a very few people whose gifts speak to us during the year. ("Psst. I belong to XX.") For the past several years, the grown-ups have received a donation--last year to Fisher House--and cookies. Lots of cookies. I'll happily spend time baking that I'd resent spending shopping in crowded stores.

For some reason, I'd never thought to ask for similar gifts in return. Then, last Christmas, or maybe it was Solstice, some friends gave us a critter from Heifer International. Or rather, they gave it to someone who needed it, for whom it wasn't stuff.

So this year, my wish list is simple. There are still a few things left on it from prior years, but what I really want are microloans. I want to build a pool of money that I can send off to the unstable parts of the world to help someone create a little stability of their own. I've got plenty for myself these days.

If the money comes back, it can help someone else. Over time, if I manage to persuade people that this really is the kind of gift I want, it can help lots of someones.

If it doesn't, well, it was a gift to begin with. I won't begrudge someone else a gift as well.


Anonymous said...

I am about to celebrate my fifteenth consecutive gift-free Christmas. I know I am a cheap skate but believe me, it is sooo liberating...

Anonymous said...

I want more ~ cookies

Stephanie Zvan said...

Okham, anti-capitalist, you. Watch out, you're on an official list somewhere now. :)

Greg, I think we can get you on the cookie list this year, although ours may not live up to Ana's.

Becca said...

I'm much more capitalistic and selfish than you.

I asked the rents for whatever minimal amount it would take to start investing (mutual fund or the like) in a socially concious way. The main requirement is that it relate to green energy. I figure, either the world will go the way I want it to, and I will be rich, or the world will go the way I expect it to, and I can at least consider it a virtuous charity gift.
Investing seems to me to be much more sensible if you give to companies you want to succeed so much that you don't mind if you lose the money.

Stephanie Zvan said...

Becca, I'm not in academia (much less grad school!) and I don't have kids. I make much more money than I need. I make more than I feel comfortable indulging myself with.

Having grown up poor, I could easily compensate by turning myself into a hoarder. I don't want to do that, for several reasons. So I indulge myself with how I give the rest of it away instead. It's not the least selfish thing I do.

Anonymous said...

I love heifer! I've been giving people animals for a few years now. I also put that on my wishlist this year. I admit that I am very poor and need stuff (I dream of a vacuum cleaner...), but there are far more people out there who are poorer.

Stephanie Zvan said...

Sci, have I mentioned lately that I adore you?