Saturday, December 21, 2013

Some Of The Better Christmas Gifts Out There

Most people know I'm pretty much a bah-humbug kind of guy during the Christmas season, especially over the past week, which is crunch time for getting your act together for the holiday.
I feel the same as Charlie Brown: If it ain't perfect,
it's bad, say the Christmas Nazis. I disagree.  

By Monday and Christmas Eve, it's basically too late to do anything about it.  What's done is done, and where I fell short for Christmas is where it's going to be. I can't change it.

I swear the Christmas season is expressly designed to torture people with ADHD. Not the holiday itself, mind you,  but the way the retailers, the marketers, the people trying to sell you stuff expect things to be so they can be happy and rich.

Because it's our duty to make the retailers and such people happy and rich for Christmas, after all. That's the spirit of the holiday.

But we've been conditioned by the advertisers and media to believe that everything has to be perfect, that we have to get the perfect gifts, bake the perfect cookies, have the perfect Christmas decorations arranged perfectly, and we have to behave perfectly.

And we have to be happy, happy HAPPY!!!! If not, you're a scumbag.

Then you have people like me. The ADHD crowd. Or even people who don't have it, but are just not into these demand for perfection.

My Christmas gifts fall short. My decorations are sloppy or nonexistent. I didn't even bake any cookies, so I must be a really terrible person.

I do like it when something happens in the real spirit of the holiday, if you allow me to use that cliche. I like to highlight these things, even when they don't expressly relate to the holiday. So I search for people giving the perfect gifts.

No, not the perfect gifts the mall wants you to buy, or Martha Stewart wants you to make by hand.  I'm talking about gifts that are important, that mean something. Most of the kinds of gifts I'm talking about don't cost any money. But they are the most precious you can give.

So here's some that have been in the news lately. Most of the ones listed below, in a series of videos and links,  appeared in the Huffington Post recently.

Reading about them makes me feel better about the holiday, and I hope they do the same for you.

Happiness and Acceptance:

Rion Holcombe, who has Down's Syndrome, was anxiously awaiting news of whether he'd get into Clemson University. Clemson has a special program for people with disabilities who want a post-secondary college experience.

Finally, Holcombe received a letter from Clemson.  Here's his excellent reaction to the news contained in the letter:

An Xbox and an Arm:
Christopher Kiezek, 6, of Long Island, New York, asked Santa for an Xbox, which isn't such an unusual think. He also asked for a left arm so he could play with the damn thing.

He was born without a left arm, and needs a prosthetic one. He outgrew an old one.

His parents' insurance company won't pay for one because it's not necessary for him to survive, according to the cold calculations of the insurer. (Gotta keep the profits strong and the stockholders happy!!)

A family friend overheard Christopher ask Santa for the fingers to play with the Xbox.  He started a fundraising effort on line, and enough money has been raised so that he'll get one soon.

Hearing the Music:

A dad had been deaf most of his life, but new technology allowed doctors to implant some special hearing aids so that he could hear. The biggest gift: Hearing his daughter do a solo for the first time at a Christmas chorale. The technology required the daughter to wear a special microphone so that her dad could hear. The moment is priceless:

Dog and Man's Friendship Survives Bad Moment:

This one isn't technically good news, but I love the loyalty.  A little before Christmas, John Miles was walking his dog Lucy in Boston's Dorchester area when some moron ran the two of them over and kept on going (The jerk hasn't been caught yet)

Miles was unconscious on the street, in a spot where few people would see him. Lucy, herself injured, searched for help until she saw people in a nearby dentist's office. She barked and barked until she got the people's attention, led them to Miles, where they called for help and rescued him.

Miles is recovering and so is Lucy. She has a torn ACL and the surgery to fix it will be expensive. However, Bostonians and others who heard about the situation have been donating cash to pay for the surgery.

Teacher Receives the Perfect Christmas Gift

Texas math teacher Jennifer Davis got the letter pictured below and she says it's the perfect gift. (click on the image to make it bigger and easier to read.)

We agree: Awesome gift. And I have a feeling the kid who wrote it is going to turn out just fine, even if math isn't that much fun:

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