I’ve bought gift baskets to support the National MS Society and candy bars to support the local high school kids. I’ve donated canned goods to Gemma Moran and shopped for toys on Black Friday for the Stuff an Ambulance Toy Drive. I’ve donated a dollar to St. Jude’s at the register every time I buy groceries, and bought my Christmas cards through Easter Seals. So why is it that I can’t look the guy in the Santa hat ringing the bell outside Stop-n-Shop in the eye when I exit the store?
It’s a tough time of year, money-wise, and really, I feel like I’ve already done my part. Half of my friends and family members are getting homemade papier-mâché ornaments for the holidays because we’re on a really tight budget right now. We keep our house at 55 degrees and dress the cats in flannel to save on the heating bill. But every time I pass the bell-ringing Santa with the red pot, I feel bad.
Really I feel bad because I don’t want to give him my spare change. My cupboards are bare from the canned goods drive and I’ve been struggling to come up with creative dinner ideas using the mustard sauce and beef log from the MS Society baskets. When a pint of sour cream comes to $2.89 (with the St. Jude donation tacked on), you know our grocery budget has been blown to snowflake-like smithereens. If I want to hang on to the two measly quarters that I’vegot rubbing together in my pocket, isn’t that my prerogative?
Maybe I want to save that money for something special – maybe as a treat for my nephews. A cup of coffee on a cold day or an apple pie from McDonalds after a long day at work.
Oh, sure, beady-eyed Santa, you might be looking into my soul and knowing that none of those things cost 50 cents and you could feed a family for a week with my two quarters, but my intentions are good. Okay, no they’re not. Really. I. just. want. to. keep. my. change.
Fine, take my money. Here. It was burning a hole in my pocket anyway. But that’s it. I am DONE giving this holiday season. I’ve decided to avoid all malls and stores for the rest of the holiday season; that way, the bell-ringing Santa menace can’t guilt me out of any more money.We can survive on beef log casserole in mustard sauce for the next two weeks, right?