Thursday, December 08, 2005

The gift of nothing.

C.'s niece doesn't want anything for Christmas this year.

There are, says the young teen, just too many people in the world who don't have enough. With that being the case, how can she justify getting more and more?

So she doesn't want anything for Christmas.

It's a phase most us who know thoughtful, smart, good-hearted kids may have observed. Some of us will have even gone through it ourselves.

It's a phase that is usually greeted with either impatience ("Oh, for God's sake, Jennifer, how is you not getting Christmas presents going to help all the starving people in Africa?"), condescension ("Yes, dear. And I'm sure you'll feel that way on Christmas morning, too.") or outright amusement ("She said that? Oh my God, that's adorable. I have to get her a little something extra from the Oxfam catalogue. Or maybe one of those rubber bracelets all the kids are wearing with the, you know, activist thingies on them.").

C. responded instead with a gesture that, in my humble opinion, is simply perfect. For Christmas this year, C. is taking her niece - both her nieces, in fact - to spend a day volunteering in the Community kitchen. It respects her niece's feelings and gives both girls some experience volunteering and an opportunity to give something back this year.

How very, very cool, my friends, is that?



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