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Wow! It’s Wednesday! A Different Kind of Scrooge

scroogeHey Guys, as many of you know I’m abstaining from Christmas gifts this year. I’ve never really like the gift bit of Christmas, and I like even less, feeling guilty for not finding just the right presents for my family and friends. Also, it seems really silly to do a gift exchange when so many charities have gotten hit so incredibly hard by our current economic crisis.

So, sorry, work Secret Santa, I’m using the $25 to donate to a local theater as opposed to getting you a gift certificate this year.

Sorry sis, I found a purple sweatshirt that you would have loved, but I’m going to spend the $50 on a donation to Nothing But Nets. Five poverty-stricken people will receive a bed net to protect them against malaria-causing insect bites because you didn’t get yet another item for your already extensive and purple wardrobe. Isn’t that nice?

Monique, I thought of the perfect gift for you back in July, but alas that money is now going towards the L.A. Food Bank. They’re food pantry demand is up 41% this year, and they’re in dire need with more needy families to feed than ever before.

And that $200 we usually spend on Christmas cards? Well, we haven’t chosen a charity for that money yet, but I’m leaning towards Planned Parenthood, since they provided for all of my OB/GYN needs during the two times in L.A. that I didn’t have health insurance. And with all of these layoffs, I imagine that there are a lot of women out there right now who don’t have health insurance.

I should feel good about these decisions, I know I should. But instead, I feel really, really terrible. As gifts and cards roll in from people who aren’t abstaining from Christmas gifts this year, I feel guilty about not having gotten them anything. Worse than guilty, really. I feel stingy. Let’s face it, I’m much better at giving to charity than I am at shopping for just the right gift. And I worry that “charitable donations” are just a mask for the convenience of not having to spend time I don’t really have on an activity I don’t really enjoy.

So next Christmas, I’m going to have to come up with a solution for this. A happy medium that allows me to feel like I’m a good citizen and a good friend. Has anyone else figured out how to do this? If so, please let me know how you did it in the comments.

. Image: Marco Moni