The Bank Christmas Tree
I try oh how I try to not walk through the day *looking* for metaphors to come smacking me in the face, but sometimes no matter how much I don’t want to be thinking in those terms, they come raining down.
In the bank this morning, I was waiting in line. Tiny bank. Tiny town. We all know each other. I look over at the tree which has paper ornaments from the ‘needy’ children in town and their ages and what they want for Christmas. My husband and I were both planning on buying something for a girl and boy our own children’s ages.
But while we were able to buy our kids what they asked for (a couple of Autobot Transformers and a sterling silver locket and a Sailor Moon) we would never be able to afford the tree of the needy. What did the needy kids in our town want the town Santa bank customers to buy?
From ages 4-17 they seemed to want iPods, and Wii and Xbox. There was literally not a single kids’ wish list that we could fulfill with something like a couple of Transformers and a piece of jewelry and a doll. And I had time to look at the whole tree in that bank line.
Where are kids ---not just needy kids---getting the idea that it’s appropriate for 4 year olds to have iPods? I’m sure the 17 year olds filling out the ‘needy’ cards have more awareness that a neighbor and not Santa will probably be flipping the bill. Do the 17 year olds think that gifts need to start over $100 to be a good gift? Did the parents put them up to this? Is this happening in your town? I know it's difficult to instruct other people's children on graciousness but wasn't there someone somewhere that could head this off at the pass? I've been talking to others today about this. Apparently the entitled need for expensive items is quite common on these types of Christmas toy drive programs.
The bank teller, when I got to the window, said she’s hearing it from both sides. The parents of the needy kids saying to ask big. The possible donors all flabbergasted at the nerve. And what does it say about both sides that we have these reactions? Do we have assumptions of how those in need are supposed to act? Do we also have assumptions of how those with cash should act?
I left the bank without taking 2 of the paper ornaments to buy gifts. I apparently, don’t have enough money or patience to fill the Christmas wish of two needy kids in my small town of 2000 people. Another friend said to just buy what I would have bought my own kids and donate that instead. But somehow it’s touched too much of a nerve with me now. I just can’t do it. Given that this is a 'tight' Christmas for most of us how could the organizers of this think that any potential gift giver might not have this reaction? It's just not sitting well. I feel bad for the kids and I want to slap the parents.