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barry writes:

well, one way to get it all in, to celebrate christmas, honor your friends and family, and satisfy your ideals, is to do it the old-fashioned way: celebrate advent as a time of penitence and preparation for the coming(s) of christ, and then celebrate christmas for 12 days, culminating in a giant feast on epiphany, wherein we reflect on the need of the pagan world for christ. most of our great-great-great etc grandparents had no problem giving each other gifts, and they were below what we'd call the poverty line.

as for catherine and me, this year we've spent some money for gifts -- a few dollars on one person, nothing on another, a huge amount on another -- but the coolness of the gift is unrelated in each case to the amount of money.

artists and scholars and other inhabitants of the floating world should have an easier time of this rather than a harder one. the relationships that people like us have to money and time and family and busyness and commerce and god and community are so different from the people around us to begin with. you're already in the floating world: stay there for christmas.

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