Wednesday, December 21, 2005


There is a beautiful Christmas tree in my living room. It is decorated with the usual pretty ornaments and lights. Beneath it, is an array of gifts for my wife, my son and even, presumably, for me. I haven't actually checked to see if there is something for me. I suspect that there will be, there always is. But if there weren't, I wouldn't be too disappointed.

I have long thought that Christmas has lost much of its meaning. It's all about what we get, the size of the pile. Every year, we all get gifts that wind up on a shelf somewhere, out of sight. We only need so much 'stuff,' after all. I think it would make much more sense to put some money away for a rainy day, for a family trip, or even to help someone in need. Instead, we buy and buy and buy. And often, that means that we borrow, borrow, borrow.

And after Christmas, it's pay, pay pay. Pay VISA, pay Mastercard, pay American Express. Then, if we're lucky, we manage to pay things off just in time to start the cycle over again.

I want things that money can't buy. Respect. Co-operation. Understanding. Appreciation. In recent years, my family has cut back dramatically on gift purchases. Sure, I enjoy watching my son open his gifts, he is still young enough to enjoy the experience of receiving something new. I resist, however, shopping from a long list of 'I wants,' and prefer that he gets instead what he needs and deserves. It bothers me not a whit that he is often the last of his friends to get a certain toy or game. Kids get too much stuff. The more they get, the less they appreciate it.

An old friend will stop in to see us for a day or two at Christmas. I have known Vince Miller for over thirty years, since the early days of the Libertarian Party of Canada, and enjoy it when he stays with us. Vince is head of the International Society for Individual Liberty in Benica, California. We enjoy sharing a bottle or two of wine with him and listen as he brings us up to date on the efforts of ISIL to spread the message of liberty around the world. Visit the ISIL site. With some of the money you save by not buying so many useless gifts for often ungrateful recipients, make a donation. Vince and his crew will put the money to good use. Tell him Sieg sent you.

I'm really not Scrooge, folks. I like the Christmas season, the music, the tradition, the time for family and friends. I just don't like the unrelenting hype and frenzy.

To everyone who stops by here at 'The Atavist' to read my words from time to time, I would like to extend my heartfelt wishes for a Merry Christmas and all that it should mean for us all.

Have a safe and happy holiday!