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The Newcomer

The shopping frenzy has to go!

The shopping frenzy surrounding Christmas is a retailer's delight, but it seems to me it's getting out of hand.

I thought it was bad enough when the day after Thanksgiving kicked off the Christmas push-and-shove season, but the midnight shopping hours that have blossomed since told me we hadn't hit bottom yet.

And we probably still haven't.

Each year seems to give birth to some new shopping gimmick to make it easier to throw dollars into the wind. And if emptying pocketbooks and purses isn't enough, credit cards can take care of funds that haven't even been earned yet.

The days of simple Christmases seem to be past. No longer do kids get excited over getting a bow and arrow set. Unless the bow and arrow comes with real steel tips and a week-long hunting trip.

I don't mean to sound like the Grinch, but I think a return to the real meaning of Christmas wouldn't be out of line. I mean, you have families who never step foot in a church charging hundreds of dollars to pile presents under a tree on the birthday of someone they don't even recognize.

And, even if they do have a nodding acquaintance or even a close relationship with the birthday boy, the shopping frenzy seems to be something completely unrelated to him.

I've seen too many people stress out over gift-giving. It isn't so much wanting to keep up with someone else, it's more trying not to look like a cheapskate. That's absolutely ridiculous. It's going to be the 'cheapskate' who finally puts Christmas back on the track it belongs on.

When people finally get up the courage to put a halt to outrageously fancy and expensive gift giving to people who already have more than they can use or need, maybe there will be time to look around the community and see the kids who would be grateful for a simple Christmas gift...and do something about it.

Kids-that's what Christmas should be all about. And, if we're fortunate enough to have a family full of kids who already have plenty, then we can teach those kids how to spread the plenty around to those who aren't so fortunate.

One year, when my kids were at an age when they were still glad to get those little bow and arrow sets clamped onto a flimsy piece of cardboard, they decided they didn't want to get any gifts for Christmas. Instead, they chose to pool the family money that would have gone for gifts and spend it to buy two coats for fellow students who weren't outfitted for winter.

I think that's probably the Christmas gifts we all remember best.

. Frances Potts can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail FPotts@eaglenewspapers.com

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