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I have been balking for years at the universal pressure to buy, buy, buy that has little or nothing to do with anything spiritual. I am Jewish and after spending my childhood literally pressing my nose to windows with Christmas trees alit and scenes of what seemed like amazing warmth and conviviality, I started "doing" Christmas when I married a non-Jew and then certainly continued it for my children.

I have grandchildren now and their mother who is Hindu is raising them with an appreciation of modesty and restraint which I wholly endorse. For Christmas this year, their family requested a membership to a museum in Philadelphia that will allow for science and art classes and an appreciation of things immaterial.

My daughter and her boyfriend, my ex-husband and I will have "Christmas" dinner together without exchanging a single gift, partially determined by our current economic straits, but mostly by our choice to opt out of the insanity and do this our way.

I "give" of myself in my work with HIV+ drug users, people with mental illness and histories of trauma and incarceration, and children and what I get back from them is immeasurable and more rewarding than any thing anyone could buy me.