I am pretty confident everyone I spoke to today had something to say about the cold weather, that has been cold for a few days now. It’s not even new news but people still love to talk about it. I wonder if something other than weather could occupy someone’s thoughts as much?

I also had someone wish me a Merry Christmas already, face to face. I think it is still a little early to do that, the week before is probably sufficient time to say your Merry Ho Hos, but on the 14th?

With Christmas in the air and a freeze taking over, does everyone become numb to the outside world? At times it seems an extremely selfish time of year. I do understand there are a lot of people who GIVE and help out, like the 12 people who asked if I needed any help when my car broke down last week. Or the community that gave my grandma a nice gift basket for Christmas full of nice things. Or the neighbours who kindly shovel our sidewalks before we get to it. But it still brings out much of the selfishness in others.

There are those who give because they feel they have to. For example a woman today, whose husband was standing next to her, bought and got me to wrap his Christmas gifts. Or those who take sending Christmas cards out as an opportunity to brag about their lives — we all know an update letter is okay but a 3 pager elaborating un-needed details is too much.
Do organizations like Toys for Teens and Toy Mountain ever think that they would not need to seek such “high demand” items at Christmas if Christmas was not made out to be such a commercialized holiday revolved around buying gifts? Toys for Teens claims: “Highest needs: books, mp3 players, gift cards, electronic games (Nintendo DS), board games, puzzles, sporting equipment, hockey tickets/jerseys, art supplies.” Since when were MP3 players, sports jerseys and electronic games a NEED for kids or ‘teens’? What about people who need FOOD? Basic shelter? What happened to giving winter jackets? Anything practical for that matter…?  Now it is crucially important that kids and teens in North America have a sufficient amount of toys and things to play, but don’t mind those who have less than adequate basic needs.

Although I am anything but religious I like the Christmas season for the tradition: it allows me to spend time with my family and friends, end of story. I do give gifts, but its because I want to, not because I feel obligated to and not because the corporate world tells me to. Many of the gifts I give are even home made. I think more people need to open their eyes a little bit.

In conclusion, back to the weather: New York is at 6 degrees right now. Thank god my winter vacation is not a total bust, still a ‘warmer get away’.